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NTERING 



SILVER LAKE 

TAKING A WALK AND LOOKING BACK 




WITH 

RRY O'Reilly - February 2004 



A TKIP TUCCUGH 
THE STREETS 

€E 
SILVER LALE 

presented tc the 

Tewksbury 
liistcrical Scciety 

(and friends) 
en 

February 13, 2€€2 

by 

Gerry CCellly 



Gerry O'Reilly ©201 2 



Foreword 

The following narrative and pictorials have given me an opportunity 
to talk about growing up in the area that surrounds Silver Lake and to 
remember all of the wonderful people that touched upon my family. It 
is also an opportunity to give more information to my children about 
their grandparents, Fred and Nellie. 



11 



INTRODUCTION 

It is a pleasure to have the opportunity to 
speak again to the members of the Tewksbury 
Historical Society about growing up in that 
tight neighborhood of Silver Lake that was 
part Tewksbury and part Wilmington. The 
map shows that the area around the lake is 
tightly packed with houses and that the town 
line is just a few hundred feet from Silver 
Lake. This map shows the area about 1942, 
and most of the houses are summer camps 
built very close together. A gentleman named 
Toothaker, who lived on the south end of 
Florence Avenue, was the developer of the 
area. He named the streets after the 
Maplewood section of Maiden w^here he lived. 
Florence Avenue was named after his wdfe. 
Later on in the discussion, the map will be 
used to show the points of interest of so many 
years ago. For me, it is an emotional trip that I 
enjoy making. The memory trip just follows in 
someone other person's footprints; I can tell 
only of my time. I do not know what went on 
before or after but only of my chunk of time. 
For instance the games we played were 
learned from those older than us, and I am 
sure that they learned from those older than 
they were, and so it was. 

Gerry O'Reilly - February 2004 

iii 



Silver Lake, the Neighborhood 




Tl^^ map is about 1942 with some later updates. If you lived in the area 
yo^r old home is shown. The paths through the backyards to the lake 
are not shown, you will have to drag them out of your memory. 



IV 



Beginning a Trip 

There will be no dips in the lake. If you lived in the neighborhood, 
then you certainly spent a great deal of time in the water and on the 
banks at Skylark, Bloodsucker, Danger, and Moxie. Just think of the 
good times spent lolling in the sun on summer days. In the map that is 
a U.S. Geology Department document, the designation Tewksbury or 
Wilmington does not show up, but it does show Silver Lake. The over- 
all map is dated 1950, but it also dates that the survey was made in 
1942. The reason for the 1950 date is to show the proposed Interstate 
Route 93. 




Silver Lake seen from Fitz Terrace, The beach is Skylark. The picture 
was taken about 1940 (clue: standing board at the left is for the life 
preservers, they were all around the lake). The road is dirt and open to 
the swimmers, walkers, to travelers going to the Silver Lake station, and 
to all the kids that walked to the Lake School (Mildred Rogers). 



1 



SILVER LAKE SUMMERS (i) 

Summer began about two weeks before school was "letout." My 
mother would buy me a brand new pair of sneakers: black high tops 
with a safety circle on the ankles and white soles. The sneakers were 
two sizes too big, but I could run faster with them on. School is out - 
"no more pencils, no more books, no more teachers' dirty looks." 
When I arrived home, my mother would say," Take off your sneakers, 
you will need them to go back to school." Barefoot the rest of the 
summer. Two days later, the city kids arrived; the population around 
Silver Lake tripled - 20 new kids on my street. Shutters came off, the 
outhouses were lined with lime, and the screen doors began to bang. 
They came by bus, train, and cars, right up Route 38 from 
Charlestown, East Boston, Everett, Medford, Cambridge, Arlington, 
and Somerville. They all flocked to their camps around the lake and 
the cool water waiting at Skylark, Bloodsucker, Danger, Moxie, and 
Baby beaches. (See Lou Connolly's description on how he got to the 
lake.) 

The great increase in population was only a pulse of what was to 
come. The Skylark boathouse became a day camp for other city kids - 
they used water wings and painted white wood floats - new groups 
each w^eek. There w^ere also baptisms at the Salvation Army Camp on 
Lake Street. (The Riddle's home.) The Evangelists camp in Bert 
Milligan's Grove at the Tewksbury line w^as a two-week home for more 
kids up from Everett. They marched in line each day to Baby Beach, 
swam, and then went right back to camp for religion. The great hall 
proclaimed: "Behold Christ Cometh" in three-foot lighted letters, high 
on the front of the building. It w^as pure revival and swinging times 
when the lights were out. Thompson's Grove held Charlestown Nite, 
Cambridge Nite and every other city Nites. More people came on the 
weekends to outings at the Grove, adding to the Lake's population. 
The pavilion rocked - dancing, parties, wrestling, boxing - it was all 
there. The new building, (still standing) housed rows of slot machines 
on each wall - all being used, and lines formed to wait for an open slot. 
Then, the carnival would come to the Grove - more people, more 
excitement. 

The Silver Crest Dance Hall on the lake was in its final days around 
my time, but I remember it lighted and in full use - I remember 
pounding the piano on the lime green bandstand. Nights never slowed 
the population down. The "Troubadours" as the young men were call 
that lived in a camp on Maplewood sang and partied all night - as 
others did elsewhere and everywhere around the lake. 
Each morning I would go down to the lake; it was usually crystal clear 
and smooth as glass. I circled the lake looking for returnable bottles 
left from the night before: beer, milk, and tonic. Then an hour later. 



the newcomers shattered the pane - they filled the lake. Mothers, 
daughters, sons, and some fathers on vacation. If I saw a kid that I did 
not know^, I would ask him if he wanted to buy a turtle. His eyes would 
glisten. 

"Wow! Sure - how much?" 

"Ten cents" 
I would then go out and get an eight-inch sun turtle, and the deal was 
set - another city kid taken. 

During the war years, Jake Riley offered 75 cents for old tires - I 
pulled every tire that was in the lake out, including the one that hung 
on the pole at Skylark - I made a bundle. 

The people that filled the beaches came for the day, wallowed in the 
sun, swam some, gabbed a lot, but mainly enjoyed the lake for what it 
was. Teenagers hung in groups, talking, playing bid whist, kitty whist, 
or hearts. 

Tats, Smiths Bakery, and even Stewarts store were filled with kids in 
sloppy, wet bathing suits - barefoot and looking for ice cream, tonic, 
or O-boy gum. The people came to and from the lake all day long, 
ending at twilight as a big bathtub - every street and path was open to 
foot traffic. 

Everyone watched everyone else for w^ater safety, and only one rule 
was strictly enforced - if it thundered, leave the lake and hustle home. 
One storm that I really remember w^as when it hailed. The stones w^ere 
marbled-sizes and landed in the lake like bullets. The Mackey sisters 
dragged us all home as fast as they could travel. We ended up on 
Miles' screened porch; then the bullets stopped and the sun came out; 
I'll never forget it. Labor Day - the city people all disappeared, and for 
two days the lake was completely silent. The shutters were up and the 
outhouses smelled. On the third day - back to school - get the new 
sneakers out, and, to my surprise, they fit perfectly on the dirt-brown, 
calloused feet. 

The surge of city people to Silver Lake ended after 1947. That year 
they did not go home, they all stayed. The camps were winterized or 
torn down to build new homes. The Town Beach was opened 
(enclosed by a fence) and everyone had to have a tag to get in. I've still 
got mine. The summer people became townies. 

The sizzling summers at Silver Lake came to an end when the flag 
burned on the beach on the last night of "Old Home Days.' 



»5 



1. Silver Lake Summers, "Wilmington, A Retrospective" by Gerry 
O'Reilly, Wilmington Historical Commission, 1996. 




The Evangelist Camp Meeting Grounds 

The great hall was in the pines at the north end of Milligan's Grove. 
The interior did not have a solid floor but was sand with a fresh 
covering of sawdust to begin the summer of religious retreat. The 
lighted sign, BEHOLD CHRIST COMETH, was not in place when this 
picture was taken. When installed later, the lighted three-foot tall 
words were above the three windows. During the summer when 
meetings were in full swing the lights shown quite clear through the 
tall pines. Behind the hall were a couple of barrack-type buildings for 
the visitors. There were also squad tents for many others, mostly the 
swinging kids. Deep in the woods at the swamp beginning was the 
latrines built out into the swamp. Boy did they stink. The wooden 
outhouse latrines were replaced by a solid concrete block structure 
with some modem plumbing. As I remember the stay for the groups 
was two weeks. One memory is the tall, skinny red-headed guy who 
had a routine of being saved at the last meeting of each two-week stay. 
We, who were regulars in the neighborhood and also regular service 
attendees would regale when "Red" would hit his routine. He would 
come out of the rear of the audience, up the center isle proclaiming 
that he had seen the vision and needed to be saved. He would stumble 
a couple of time and finally reach the stage and have the speaker take 
him in hand and proclaim that he had seen the light and indeed was 
saved. 





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A TRIP TO STIR ANCIENT MEMORIES 

My trip will begin at that point in our driveway where the town line 
passed by: Wilmington on one side and Tewksbury on the other. I was 
born next door in a house that my parents, Fred and Nellie, built about 
1928 and lost in the depression a few years later (the midwife was Alice 
Keough). They built a new bungalow next door, the home in which I 
grew up. The land was purchased from Charlie Spear. The town line is 
shown in driveway/ swimsuit picture. The homes in the background 
belonged to The Burnetts and the Blairs (later Morris). My mother and 
father are shown in front of the magical old oak tree that was in our 
yard. The best swing in the whole world hung from one of the broad 
branches. This tree was cut down two years ago by the present owners of 
the house. Of note to the woodcutter, we (all of the kids in the 
neighborhood) put a least 1,000 nails into the old oak and prior to the 
nails some one hooked a horse chain around the tree. I wonder how^ 
many saw blades that the cutter went through; I sure he had visions of 
pure white oak boards. 




The Old Oak tree also Fred and Nellie with grandchildren: Janet, 

Patricia, and MaryEllen 




Gerry O^Reilly, about 1938, ready for a trip to the lake. 
Town line is shown. 



Beginning the neighborhood journey 

After publication of "Wilmington - A Retrospective", I received a call 
from the Wilmington Historical Commission about a person who had 
some old negatives of what the gentleman felt were pictures of Silver 
Lake. I went to the house on Dudley Road and met Tippy and Maxine 
Burgess. I recognized them both as old timers around the lake. *I have 
attached the description of that meeting and what was in the 
negatives. 

Silver Lake, in my mind, stretches from the Black Kat on the south to 
the Heath Brook Farm on the north, along Salem Road to the east and 
to Nichols Street and up past Brown Street on the west. With that in 
mind I'll take a walk along Main Street when the "corn is in" near the 
end of a summer season. Two places to buy corn: Pop Neilson's on 
Glen Road or at Chandler's. Pop did not have a big field so his corn 
went fast. My mother and I would walk up to Chandler's or ride in our 
car. We will walk. The Heath Brook farm barn was located just about 
where the Piccadilly Pub is today. The farm house across the street 
was on a slight rise. Both of the buildings turned away from the road, 
I guess to catch the hot sun. The bam had cavernous front doors open 
to the world in the crop season. To the side of the barn w^ere shelf-like 
stands for the crops to be placed for sale. The real majesty was the 
cornfield; the field stretched from about the Post Office parking lot 
down to about the ice cream stand and out behind the shopping 
center. You talk about "Amber Waves of Grain": that is what the 
cornfield looked like, exciting. It was the best corn one could 
remember. 

With the corn in hand, w^e would w^alk home. Across the street behind 
what is now MacDonalds was another farm house, MacClarens. The 
daughter, Nancy Mac Claren, won the first Lowell Sun Spelling Bee; 
she was really smart. Then, we move down to the "Oaks", but not the 
building that was recently demolished. The Old Oaks was a house 
right on the corner of Shawsheen and Main, with the door angled on 
the corner near the street. The Eastern Mass. bus (remember Martin 
the coin collector and his hand-held machine) would stop right at that 
door, and one could step from the bus right into the bar at the Oaks. 
Across the street Paul Belle, long, lean with slick black hair, owned 
the gas station - a w^ooden garage with huge green doors. On the other 
corner was a mysterious cemetery that is still there. On that side near 
the river was Bowley's house that had marvelous front windows that 
are also still there. The Shawsheen Cabins are also still lined up. The 
"Pines" was next, a low slung joint with a front porch almost on the 
street; this was a swinging place where many girls and boys met; my 
father took me there so that he could have a quick one - shot and an 
ale (musty). About 1950 a new building showed up on the spot and 

8 



was aptly dubbed "The Riverview". It was owned by John Finethy of 
Woburn. His son, Bob, ran the place, it is now the home of the 
Knights of Colombus. Next came Hinton's gas station and, for a time, 
a clam shack (now ice cream). The South Tewksbury fire engine was 
in Hinton's garage, and Edgar drove to the local fires, but first he 
picked up Clifford Greeno who lived across from Clark's store. The 
response was for camp burnings (they went fast) or brush fires (in the 
dump). 

As w^e began to climb the hill there w^ere tw^o houses on the left: 
Compton's (recently torn down) and Olive Page's (my long time friend 
the late Bob Burris lived here also). Across the street and deep in the 
woods was the Gray home (condos now). Bob O'Brien's Hilltop was 
next. Everyone has a Hilltop memory. 

Going along the way we came to Sam Brownstein's store, "Sam's." 
Freddie Vinecour worked there prior to building his own shop across 
the street. Hap Vinecour w^orked with Fred - they both had a w^ay with 
all the w^omen. No thumb on the scale for these guys; they cut great 
meat. Hap opened up a meat locker just where the Burger King is now^ 
near Home Depot. 

Then we went down the long stretch to BischofPs Bakery; if you ever 
had any of their baked goods, you know how good it all was. A ritual 
for summer people w^as to get fresh dough to fry for the summer 
Sunday breakfast. My mother always had fresh dough left over from 
bread making and when w^e had fried dough she called them 
"toutens", a Nova Scotia staple. (Fire hole on State Street behind the 
Bakery; does anyone remember w^here the other fire holes w^ere.) 
Next over to Clarks. Where there exist two fond remembrances. One 
was the cast iron mailbox hanging on the end porch post; every kid in 
the neighborhood scratched his initials on it (I would like to have it in 
my hands now to see who w^as there). The other w^as inside the store 
on the right as you entered; it w^as a penny slot machine. You dropped 
your penny in a slot at the top, and it dropped through a pyramid 
shaped maze of nails. The center was an open slot, but on each side 
were three stops: 5, lO, and, 25 (cents); if by luck your penny fell into 
one of the stops, then you won that amount. You then told Mr. Clark; 
he looked at it and then said "drop it." You then pushed the brass 
push rod in, and the penny fell into the box. Clark would then say, 
"What kind of candy do you want?" (Skybar, Bolster, Mounds, Three 
Musketeers.) 

See the three pictures of the store. Two early photos and one of today. 

A while back, I was reading an old Wilmington new^spaper of the 30's. 
In the paper was an ad for the RUBY, "in the pines near State Street at 



Silver Lake - a great place to eat." I though, "where in the world is this 
place?" My mind drew a blank. I asked Tom Berube. He stated that it 
was the Ruby Men's Club, that little cabin in the pines across from 
Hobart's country store. See the ad and see the picture of it today. 
Wow is it tiny. The towering pine trees were recently chopped down. 




Schmidt's Store c 1918, later Clarks. 




Hobart's - 2003 



10 



IS 



c/3 Good Phce To Eat 



The Ruby 



MAIN ST., Near St^jte St., SILVER LAKE 

Whether you want a complete dinner, a salad or 
just a sandwich - you will enjoy this unique eating 
place "in the pines'* 

FAMOUS FOR ITS COFFEE 



SI 

s 

il 

El 
il 




The "Ruby" 



11 



Porterfield's store is shown at the corner of Vernon and Main Street 
with the "Busy Bee" in the background, and streetcar tracks along the 
roadside. In the early 40's Harry Blair and Harry Blair, Jr. tore the 
front of the store down leaving only the house. I was there when the 
porch floor was ripped up, and some coins were visible that had 
dropped down between the cracks in the floorboards. I grabbed some, 
but Harry Jr. got most of them. I bet that if I went back today with an 
electronic metal detector, there would still be some coins there. On 
the opposite side of Vernon was a large cavanemous building that was 
a garage. This garage belonged to Tom Porterfield; Roger Buck was in 
it at one time, but moved to Wilmington Center in a similar sized 
garage next to the Wilmington Theatre. Stan Woolaver had it next. 
Then came Bill Witkum and his welding shop, his brother "Boppo" 
was the man who did all of the heavy welding and probably the lifting. 
When Charlie Haas would break a chain on the Mack pulling stumps 
he would take the one-chained Mack to Bill and Boppo to get it welded 
- then back out to pull more stumps. (Signs on the walls stated "Don't 
Watch the Arc".) I can still see Charlie in my mind dragging the 
stumps down the street to an empty lot and dumping them there. In 
the late 40's the garage collapsed under a three-foot high wet 
snowfall. A home sits on the spot now. 

Across from Porterfield's was Rob Rainey's store. Annie O'Neill ran 
the store after Rob died. In his will he stipulated that it was to be a 
store until Annie passed on. I think that Tom O'Conner, a relative, 
handled the estate: Tom was a high school coach, I think at Maiden 
High. When Annie died, the store was leveled. It is now the Silver 
Lake Veterinary. Out in front of the store was a long row of mail 
boxes. I always thought that it w^as Tewksbury RFD because ours was 
not there, but as pointed out by my audience it was Wilmington RFD. 
Others in the audience said they were Lowell RFD or Billerica RFD. 
When house delivery came in, Annie gave me her box, and I put on 
Glen Avenue in front of our house, I think that it is still there. 

Saint Mary's (See the Three pictures that follow.) 

Saint Mary's was the center of activity in the neighborhood - penny 
sales, whist parties, retreats, bingo games, and, of course, all the 
church- related events. I have added in the Tantum Ergo and O 
Salutaris to remind old parishioners how close the church activity 
was. One summer Sunday morning in the late 30s or early 40s, my 
mother and I went to mass and sat in our regular seats (only heaven 
could help those summer people who sat in the wrong seat) as did all 
of the regulars. The bell that rang to start the mass sounded funny. I 
did not recognize the alter boys who led the priest out to start the 
ceremony. "Who are those kids?" I wondered. The mass continued 
and I did not like it. Soon the Mass over and everyone streamed 

12 



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Porterfield's Store at the corner of Vernon and Main Streets. 




Same spot as it is today. 



13 



outside - cluttering about and gabbing for the next 15 minutes It took 
longer to get away from in front of the church than it did just to walk 
home. Everyone was catching up on the local gossip, who did what to 
whom. On the way home down Vernon Street, my mother sensed 
something was wrong, 

"And what's bothering you?" she smoothed the question out. 

"I hate those kids." 

"What kids?" 

"The alter boys." 

"Oh, they are all right, they are your cousins, the Horgans," 
again she smoothly replied. 

'I don't have any cousins," I blurted. 



«i 



Everyone else in the neighborhood had cousins, some came up in the 
summer' some were here all year round, and some lived together. We 
did not have any of those kind. My mother then explained to me that 
her name used to be Horgan before she married Pa. I made it a point 
to find out who they were and where they lived. I did. The Horgans 
names were Dan and Bob, both older than I, but there was another 
one, Paul. From then on, I became a regular at their summer home. 
Chelsea was the winter home. I have always remembered Ursula's 
slick black curley hair. 

The Horgans became a "connection." When I grew older, I realized 
that the whole neighborhood was a network connection. Everything 
and everyone had a connection. To this day, many of the inter-locking 
links are not clear. I should have began to investigate the day Aunt 
Kitty (Byron) told me that she baby-sat my father in Newfoundland. 
Betty Byron baby-sat me! The question that I ask people today is 
"What brought you to the lake? My contemporaries do not really 
know. Many of the people of my parents' generation had an East 
Boston, Charlestown, the docks, or the fish pier connection. The 
fathers worked as longshoremen (scallywags), stevedores, freight 
handlers, clerks, fishermen, fish cutters, and fish processors, and in 
all of the other jobs that were in the port of Boston. The men left the 
house at 6 in the morning and came home at 6 at night, six days a 
w^eek. Still the connection question remains. There were tw^o other 
families that were of another generation; Luke and Annie Powers and 
Mr. and Mrs. Riggs. (I know their connection; Their sons, Bill Powers 
and Billy Riggs worked on the docks.) but the question is when and 
why did they come to the lake. The Silver Lake Catholic Literary Club, 
original owners of the building - Who started it and who ended it? So 
many unconnected connections around Silver Lake. So much more 
information to find! 



14 




Silver Lake Catholic literary Association - the Woodland Theatre 




Saint Marys after the theatre building was renovated. 



IS 




The Parking Lot at the Tewksbury VFW on the comer of Samt Mary's 

Road and Vernon street 



The lot maybe empty, but one only has to close the eyes and re- 
visualize what went on at this spot so many years ago. We can enter, 
two flights of stairs are separated by a short wall then step down four 
stairs into the old theater and see the altar with the solid white lamb 
sitting at the base. During "Retreats" the back wall was the tabled 
area for the display of missies, medals and the other retreat 
momentos.Tum around and see the holes in the high back wall where 
the movie camera poked thru to show the movies in another era. 
Then came the renovation: the floor was raised, the pot bellies were 
removed, the Diehl fans were taken down , the colonial benches were 
given away on a first come basis (Nellie did not get one, she came 
late), new pews were put in (from some other church), an automatic 
pea coal furnace was installed, the parking lot was enlarged and 
leveled, and the ruby red curtains opened the new altar (new mass 
chimes replaced the old hand ringer). Masses were held at 7, 8:30, 
and 11. The 10:00 was added for the sununer folks. Fathers Big Din, 
Clement Flynn, the two Father Curtins, Harrington, Trayers, 
McCartin, and anyone available from the Noviate. The Nuns of Notre 
Dame taught religion after Mass. Seventh and eigth graders went on 
Wednesdays at 3:00 with the available priest. (See CYO.) Willie Noll 
played the organ and Mister Noll ran the choir with an iron hand. So 
many memories of a church that was more than a church. 



16 



Some songs (Hymns) that remain in our minds forever are the ones 
we sang the most. The following we all voiced and did not have a clue 
what the words meant. Take a quick look at the words, close your 
eyes and hum. 



O Salutaris 

O salutaris Hostia 

Quae coeli pandas ostium: 
Bella premunt hostiUa 

Da robur, fer auxilium 

Uni trinoque Domino 
Sit sempitema gloria 

Qui vitam sine termino 
Nobis donet in patria. 



Tantum Ergo 

Tantum ergo Sacramentum 

Veneremur cemui: 
Et antiquum documentum 

Novo cedat ritui: 
Praestet fides supplementum 
Sensuum defectui. 

Genitori, Genitoque 
Laus et jubilatio, 
Salus honor, virtus quoque 
Sit et benedictio: 
Procedenti ab utroque 
Compar sit laudatio. 

Amen 



Another church song that my mother sung around the house, I guess 
because it was her favorite. 

Mother dear, oh pray for me. 

Whilst far from heaven and thee 

I wander in a fragile bark. 

O'er life's tempestuous sea; 

O Virgin Mother, from thy throne. 

So bright and bliss above. 

Protect thy child and cheer my path. 

With thy sweet smile of love. 



Mother dear, remember me, 
And never cease thy care. 

Till in heaven eternally 
Thy love and bliss I share. 

If your eyes are really closed, you can hear Willie playing and Mr. 
Noll swaying his arms gently. 



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Saint Dorotfiy 

St. Dorothy was a young girCwfio died for her faith. 

The story of St. "Dorotfiy fuzs come to us as Cegendary. 'When the young maiden, 
Dorothy, was imprisoned as a Christian during the persecutions of the 'Rxmuxn 
emperor 'DiocCetian, she converted two apostate women guards sent to Break her 




faith. This enraged Tahriciiis, the 
(governor ofCaesarea, who sentenced her 
to death. 

On the way to her execution, Dorothy 
was scorned By a Cawyer named 
TheophiCus for refusvig to marry or to 
worship idols. J^e mockingCy asked her to 
send him Back some fruit and f Cowers 
from the garden that she hadJoyousCy 
announced she wouCd soon Be in. 
flps she kneCt for her Beheading and 
^jn-ayed a chiCd miracufousCy appeared 
with a Basket of goCden apples androses. 
She took a napkin andpCacedin it three 
roses and three appCes. Then she asked the 
chi(d-to take them to TheophiCus andteCl 
him that she wouCdmeet him in the 
garden, ^hen he saw these gifts, he knew 
that this was a sign from heaven and he 
himseCfwas converted to Christianity. 



St. Dorothy, which means "Qift ofQod', is 
the patron saint of gardeners. 
The window over the main entrance of the 
church is stained in her Cikeness. 

St. Dorothy Tarish 

IViCmington— Tew ks Bury 

June 15, 2003 



20 



The Fitzgeralds 







Front: John and James 
Rear: Wilfred, Mary, and Henry 



A trip from the Heath Brook Farm to the Black Kat and the Rainbow. 







BLACK KAT 



^^W^W'^'^WWWW^W^^W^W^WWW^^WWW'^WW^ 



BLUE TERRACE 




Dine and Dance 



Choice Liquors 



Steaks 



Dinners 



Sandwiches 



Reasonable Prices 
IQl MAIN ST. 

Tel. Wilmington 880 

WILMINGTON, MASS. 



^1k1k^ix1k^^1k1k1k%.1k^^^1t^^^%.%i%.%.1k^%.^^^^ 




Tony DelTorto held a contest to rename the BLACK KAT. The winning 
entry was the new BLUE TERRACE. 

123 



The first carnival that I remember was on the baseball field at the 
Novitiate. I remember fi-ied chicken that was cooked outside and was 
delicious. The carnivals w^ere then held on the field where Saint 
Williams was to be built. I remember one year when Shine Sheehan 
being hit on the head with an iron piece that fell fi*om the ferris 
wheel. When the church was built (The ladies of Silver Lake helped 
build three churches; whoever had a fund raiser, they all showed up), 
the carnival (Jesse LaGasse) then moved to the field at Foster's comer 
where the fire station is today. Finally when the archdiocese 
purchased Thompson's Grove, the final years of the carnival were 
held there. The big money maker every year w^as the refreshment 
booth - run by the ladies of Saint Mary's- the kids on the know ate 
well. 

COLLECTED MEMORY CATCHUP 

There were two bowling alleys in the basement of one of the old 
buildings at the State Hospital. We would bum up or take the Eastern 
Mass. bus and walk in to the hospital. It was a scary trip. When we got 
to the gates of the hospital, there was only one light (not as bright as it 
is today) to show the way in to the ally. It was dark enough for the 
wolfman, Dracula, or the Frankenstein monster to be lurking in the 
bushes inside the gate, but we feared not. Bowling was a nickel a 
string and the pins were set by "Jimmy," a patient at the hospital. He 
wore a leather helmet with fiaps to cover his ears. We would bowl two 
or three strings and leave; Jimmy was happy to get some change. 
Then we would go out through the scary gate and down to the Red 
Roof. Other memories include w^as the bus that ran into Sheehan's 
house. Also I remember Father Dunlavey being killed in a car accident 
while going to South Tewksbury. For years the large pine tree he 
struck stood on the bend just past J Rags in front of what is now^ a law 
office. (I thought of it a Father Dunlavey's tree.) The circular barkless 
spot marked where he hit. That tree was cut down about a year ago. 

Summer Jobs 

One summer job that I had was working at the F. I. Carter's and Sons 
(Fred and John) greenhouse. I worked with Chuck Keough, Pat 
Aspell. Regina Sullivan, Eleanor Berwind, Floyd Darby (truck driver), 
Nick Gray (foreman), and Bonzo Darby who was the heavy lifter and 
equipment operator. Bonzo was all muscle. Eben Prescott was the 
handy man called upon when needed. I made $13.20 for a 44-hour 
week. We got paid cash on Saturdays at noon. I kept $2.20 and gave 
the full envelope to my mother. It was a summer of waxed begonias, 
English ivy, barrel cactus and wandering Jews. 

Another summer job that I had was working on Fred and Mamie 
DuGau's farm. Jim Mackey and I were hired to help cut all the hay 
that was in the fields of North Tewksbury (one was Salonika's). Clean 

24 



up the chicken droppings and help start the automatic milkers. We 
even helped out when the cows were artificially inseminated (what an 
experience). We worked with the "hired hand," and we did not trust 
him. One field that we cut was directly behind their cow barn all the 
way out to the tracks. It was an alfalfa field that was alive with every 
animal possible. When the cutting was all over, the no-legged frogs, 
rabbits, and mice were crawling all over the place. Half a snake 
cannot squiggle very well. Also, a muskrat hid below the tracks, and 
Fred was always trying to shoot it, he missed all the time. Jim or I 
could have picked it right off. We had fresh milk at the noon meal and 
Mamie would get mad at us because we always drank the pitcher dry. 
One hot summer day so long ago we were all walking on Pleasant 
Street and their daughter, Marion and her friends passed us, no one 
talked and just looked. Marion told Mamie that we ignored them. 
Mamie called Nellie, Alice, and every other mother to further the 
complaint. 

CYO 

During the school season, religious studies were held every 
Wednesday night from 7 till 10 in the basement of Saint Williams. 
Religious teaching was fi-om 7 till 8. At 8 the priest said, "Good night" 
and left. Then the church basement was swinging till 10. Everyone 
showed up - it was just a social night out - Catholics, Protestants, old, 
young, hanger onners, and hanger outters. The bus going south came 
about 10:20 and the Wilmington and South Tewksbury kids "going 
south" piled in and the rest disappeared. No one would ever miss out 
on that night of religion! 

THE WALL 

In my golden age of summers, I spoke of the wall that was across from 
Thompson's Grove and the post and rail fence along Main Street at 
the lake. Everyone (and I mean everyone) sat on the w^all or fence at 
one time or another. The boys sat on and leaned against the wall and 
fence while the girls strutted by looking for a glance or some strange, 
new, interesting face. The generation older than I sat and the 
generation older than they also sat or leaned. Bob Goss, who lived at 
5 Grove Avenue, told of how one day he was sitting on the fence 
(Senior year) and this pert, dark-haired young thing sauntered by. He 
was smitten. Edna Ferreira, a Tewksbury girl and a cousin of the 
McCarthy's, stole his heart, and they lived happily ever after. Saint 
Dorothy's opened and Father Leahy was the pastor. One Sunday 
sermon he strongly blasted the kids that sat on the wall and fence; I 
was offended because I always enjoyed the innocent times spent on 
the wall. See the pictures of the walls today - disgraceful. Some words 
I wrote follow: 



24 a 



SITTING ON THE WALL 

Kindred youths upon the wall, 
Early Sprmg to late in the Fall. 

No wars or bombs do they fear, 
Rambling now is their career. 
But soon their lives to unfold. 

And bear the cares centuries old. 

Of grief, hardship, and of tears. 
Unknown now in early years. 

We see them now and are glad. 
We had our wall as lass and lad. 




Looking along Lake Street from Main Street, the old post and rail 
fence was replaced by the State with a car-bumper like pointed steel 
rail. 




The stone wall at Lubbers Brook protected by a steel rail fence. No 
one can sit on this wall anymore. 



25 



MOXIE 

One television program that I enjoy watching is "New Hampshire 
Crossroads". One show was about a Moxie museum. (Those who 
remember moxie - really remember it, what a tonic.) The segment of 
the show opened up with a quick view of a Moxie sign on a building on a 
lake. Just a brief flip on and then into the Moxiemobile and other 
memorabilia; then the show was over, and a new program began. I sat 
staring at the screen seeing nothing but the Moxie sign. I wrote to the 
PBS Channel ii in New Hampshire. The attached letter is the answer 
and the picture is the Moxie sign. The building shown in the other 
picture burned down in 1930 and was replaced by a one-story building 
with a different Moxie sign on the side. The building was on Grove 
Avenue and the beach was of course called "Moxie". 




The Moxie sign and Grove Avenue as seen from Skylark. 



26 



RO. Box 1 100. Durham. NH 03824-1 100 603 868- 1 100 FAX 603 868- 7552 



Channel 1 1 Durham. 15 Hanover. W Pittsburg. 49 Littleton. 52 Keene 




New 
Hampshire 

Public 
Television 



November 1, 1996 



Mr. Gerry O'Reilly 

65 Wildwood 

Wilmington, MA 01887-2524 



Dear Mr. O'Reilly: 

I'm responding to your letter requesting more information on a photo that you saw on our 
New Hampshire Crossroads segment on "The Moxie Horseraobile." Normally, Fritz would 
be personally responding to his mail, but he's been quite busy these days and, since I did the 
production on that piece, I know the photo you're referring to. 

The opening images were borrowed from a collector of Moxie postcards. The postcard you 
are referring to is of Silver Lake. It appears to' be the precise location you described in your 
photocopy. The postcards have been returned to their owner, Ira Seskin from Newton, 
Mass. I called him for permission to give you his name and telephone number. He sug- 
gested I have you call him, either at home or work. 



It's great to hear that people are paying such careful attention to our shows. It makes our 
moments of "fretting over details" seem worthwhile. Thanks again and good luck on your 
new book. Based on the information in the Wilmington Advertiser article, I'd say it's going 
to be a great work! 







5 



4 



BEHIND THE TIMES: They could wash 
those chips down with the equally aw- 
ful-tasting but somehow venerated 

•Mpxie, which was invented as a "nerve 
food" in the 19th century in Maine, The 
drink was once the best-selling soda in 
the country and still has a slew of devo- 
tees, who buy and sell collectibles and 
yack online at sites like Yahoo's themox- 
ieloversplace and Moxieworld.com. Joe 
Vail, who lives in Connecticut, is finish- 
ing up "Moxie. . .Encore!," a book chron- 
icling the drink's history and updating 
prices on Moxie collectibles. Like Harry 
Potter inventor J.K. Rowling, he'd 

, hoped to have his book out this summer 
— more specifically, in time for the 
Moxie Days festival in Lisbon Falls, 
Maine, July 13. Also like J.K. Rowling, 

. he blew his deadline. Which could be a 

^problem when most people who grew up 
drinking the product are of a "certain 
age." But Vail says he's not too con- 

. cerned: "There's a new generation of 

' <Jjrinkers, high school, college students. 

,It's a new revival." 



Sincerely, 




' -J^^>3/^JX>U^ 



Kristi Donahue 




The "Moxie car" is still saddling up. 



27 



iV 




Another view of the Moxie sign on Grove Avenue. The icehouse is huge 
but the part shown is the shute used to convey the ice into the house. 



^^^. 






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The icehouse filled the whole lot that the schools are on and over Pond 
Street to Grove avenue. 



28 




The Silver Lake Station 




Bill Tattersall in his store at the cornier of Grove Avenue and Main 
Street. 



29 



I 



Molly Aspell 

When the Aspells (School Street) raised chickens, they sold the extra 
eggs. My mother would send me up to get the eggs. Like any other home 
in the neighborhood, if you got there at the right time, you could sit 
right down and have a meal. Molly had a full house! When we think 
and pray for the people in heaven, Molly is there. She carried the 
heaviest cross and did so without complaint. Another egg supplier was 
Mrs. Pitman who lived on Florence Avenue. She was also a good cook; 
another open door and good food. She gave me rides to all the 
Tewksbury games when Charlie played, George drove (the rods and 
reels were pushed aside.) 




Paddy Aspell dancing a jig with Nellie O'Reilly at Kay's wedding, Molly 
seated in the chair beside Aunt Kitty ) Walter hidden). 



30 



Some Aspell photos 




Molly and Pat at the top, Joan and Jimmy Starr at their wedding, and 
Joan and Kay walking out the door. 



31 



The Mackeys 

My other home and my mind swims with memories of the warmth of all 
inside that house. I remember when the inlaid linoleum was put down. 
The light switch for down cellar that lit an old fashioned bulb. The hole 
in the cellar w^all; I wonder if Buck Rogers is still in there. The knife 
sharpener on the pantry wall. The day we all cleaned out the cess pool 
and dumped in Carroll's backyard. Nobody would eat the duck. And 
yuk! Ma Mackey always put butter in my oatmeal. The lamp Ned made 
that looked like a water hand pump. 




Dick, Allie, Joe, Peg, and Tess 
Ned, Jere, Rita, Alice, and Jim 



32 




"Tess 



?> 



33 



THREE WEDDINGS 



9l««Ml#. 




Allie and Frank Casazza 




Tess and Tom Berube 



34 




Peg and Joe Keefe 




Allie and Frank Casazza's wedding: on the side, Ned, Jinunie, 
Barbara, and Alice Farrell, Betty Byron, Lois and Rita Gorrell. 




At Peg's wedding: on the left, Ray Keefe, Madelyn Mackey, Rita 
Mackey, Helen Hughes, Pearl Lawlor, and Mike Keefe with Allie. 



35 





Vi>i 




Clockwise from the top: Freddie O'Reilly, 
Marie and Jean Crowley - Doris and Fred 
Johnson in San Diego in 1943. 
Evelyn (McLean) Morris, Dick and Peg 
Mackey, Peg and Evie sw^apped coats. 
Bedy McDonald in Nellie's coat. 



4l 



d 




36 



THE SUMMER MACKEYS 





Bessie 



When the season began the summer Mackeys came up from the 
warm-water flat m East Boston to a hand pump and an outhouse in 
the pines. But it was always speculative to where they would Uve for 
the coming summer; they hit all of the camps on the side roads off of 
Vernon Street. The best camp was on Maplewood, it had a two-seater. 
(See "The Day the War Ended".) 




Summer Mackeys: Front, Dick and Bill. 

Middle, Rita, Elizabeth, Madeline, and Bob. 

Tom is in the rear; Lorraine and Margie were not invented yet. 



36A 



"Don't sit under the apple tree with anyone else but me..." 

The old apple tree in Miles' front yard blew down in the hurricane of 
1938; the loss was sad. In the picture below is a large elm tree in the 
background. The picture of the Rich Carter house shows the elm 
clearer. Part of this elm also fell in the hurricane. The smaller logs were 
cut up and hauled away leaving a huge log about 12-feet long and a 
diameter of about 3 feet. Uncle Walter had the log moved to his yard. It 
became a barrier to keep the kids out, but it became a great place to sit 
on. It became the left field wall, a rubber knocked over it was a triple. 




Freddie, Doris (O'Brien) Johnson, and Gerry sitting on the Irish Robe 
that Nellie carried with her when she fled Ireland. Doris was my 
godmother and Jim Hurley was my godfather. 



37 





^*^V^i ^^^ L 




On the left: Joe Hughes, Dave Miles , and Freddie O'Reilly. On the right: 
Norma Miles and Gerry O'Reilly. The stump of the old apple tree is all 
that is left of the magical tree. 




The Rich Carter home at 2 Main Street. The first elm tree is the one 
that was partially blow^n over in the hurricane. (Everyone in the 
neighborhood remembers the Hurricane of 1938.) 



38 




The Busy Bee on Main Street at Milligan's Grove, 




Milligan's Grove, the pine trees were almost demolished in the 38 
hurricane. 



39 



Rainey's Store 

It was painted red and white. The front porch where the people 
waited for the husses had one end open and the other glassed in. On 
the far right was a huilt-in box that contained the air compressor (for 
sitting on when drinking a Royal Crown cola). The hand water pump 
was to the right outside just behind a long, low fence that had chewing 
gums advertisement signs attached. On the front windows white 8- 
inch letters stated "TETLEYS TEA and SALADA TEA". The front 
screen door was embossw^ed with BOND BREAD. The inside door 
opened to the left and a bell that was attached to the door top and 
when the door was open it jiggled indicating that a customer had 
entered. Inside on the right floor was a row of cookie jars and at one 
time loose spaghetti. Then the new Coke tonic chest and the older 
wooden one. The telephone booth was crowded into the corner. 
Against the windowed wall was the GE refrigerator with the working 
parts on the top. A close fit ally let one get behind the counter. Beside 
this space was the bread stand and above the stand was the pastry 
rack. Stoddard's cold black whoopee pies and also their lemon, 
pineapple, apple and blueberry nickel pies. Next was the scale, the 
business counter with a large Wonder Bread place mat, then the 
glassed-in penny candy display. Behind the counter were the regular 
store goods - Campbell soups, Rival vegetables and "Franko". There 
was a long vertical rack for cigarettes. 
The Crime 

My lips have been sealed until now, but I will let it loose forever. One 
day I went to the store for something at the same time as the much 
older, summer kid, Tom Hurley did so. We arrived at the same time. 
Tom was bent on a caper. Tom opened the screen door and slipped his 
hand over the inside door bell so that it would not announce our 
entrance, he moved inside deftly dragging me along (accomplice to 
the crime). Tom reached the counter and climbed up on it and then 
reached over to grab a couple of packs of butts. He got down and hid 
the cigarette packs in his pocket. The action was quick and 
professional. He then w^ent to the door and jiggled the bell and Annie 
came out to help us. Remember now^ that this crime w^as a long time 
ago and the threat of Tom doing me in is long gone. Tom was one of 
the ^Big Guys". I was just a little kid tagging along. I am innocent! 
The Crowleys 

Agnes and John lived on Laite Road just behind Rainey's Store. Marie, 
Jean, and Anne lived with them. When John had the house built he 
made sure that it had the best breakfast nook in the world installed in 
the kitchen. I felt right at home when Agnes made me cocoa and I 
could sip it while sitting in the nook corner. The Higgenbothams lived 
across the street from the Crowleys. When Annie went to mass on 
Sunday, the ^Higgles" would sell the Sunday papers for her until she 
returned to the store. 

40 



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Nanna SuUivan^s summer house - (Miles) The house burned down in 

1955 supposedly still in probate. 




Rainey's Store, Crowleys in the background. 



41 



I 



r 

1^ 




1948, the end of Maplewood Ave. snowed in. 




Bessie Mackey*s front porch snowed in. Varone's next door. Jim Mackey, 
Jim Jewer, Lester Jewer and Ray Morris. 



14^ 



The DeCarolis Home 

This was a full house and I mean a full house- Rocky, Jimmy, 
Armando, Mario, Robert, Joey, Philip, Rosalie, Johnnie, and Regina. 
Another place for a good meal if you got there at the right time; 
spaghetti and meatballs and on good days a glass of red wine. Each 
fall, Mr. DeCarolis would get out the grape press and squeeze all the 
grapes around into sweet grape juice. Down in the crowded cellar, 
everyone had a job to do, family or not. If you were there, you worked: 
the wine had to be made. Later in the year when the juice had 
fermented, Armando or Mario would run off a quart and the gang 
would go under Hanson's house or in the cellar hole next to Carter's 
and have a swig. We would end up as drunken, tired skunks. The day 
the cow burst water and gave birth, we were all there to watch Jimmy 
pull the sack-covered foal out with a great big gush of more water and 
blood. My last remembrance of Mr. DiCarolis was when he and Al 
D'Amore were sitting beneath the grape vines slugging wine. 

The Dump 

Prior to the days of household rubbish pick-up, there was the local 
dump. Our local dump was where Glenwood, School and now Saint 
Mary's met. Every one dumped there. During the war cans were 
flattened for the "effort" and grease was collected to be dropped at the 
local store that collected it for the "effort." Newspapers were saved, 
the lining of the tea boxes was saved, waxed Bond and Wonder bread 
wrappers were saved, and paper bags also. Rags were saved. 
Everything w^as saved; what w^as left w^ent to the dump. The Mackey's 
had a whole kitchen nook seat filled with old shoes - just in case. Still 
a lot of junk w^ent to the dump. One year Dick Mackey worked for the 
local Amoco gas station. He got a lot of Amoco hats, and with those 
hats he formed his Amoco Army. Every kid in the neighborhood 
joined up. Dick then built a fire engine with two 5- gallon cans filled 
with water, hosed and ready for a fire; the army was now the Amoco 
fire brigade. Off we all went up to the dump near the fire hole and 
started the dump on fire. The fire w^as going good and controlled, 
until the water ran out, and the fire really took off. Soon the whole 
side of the dump was on fire, including Charlie Haas' stumps. Edgar 
and Mr. Greeno arrived in the nick of time and the fire was put out. 
The Amoco army and the fire brigade disbanded. Years later a house 
was built on School Street on part of the old dump. The Amoco army 
was not asked about the old soggy dump, and the house slowly sunk 
into the old blueberry sw^amp. That house w^as recently moved to the 
corner of Vernon and Main where Porterfield's used to be. 



43 



Three Georges 

George Blair lived two houses away, and he rode an Indian motorcycle 
with black leather side bags. He would circle the block - down Clyde, to 
Glen, out to Main and then to Vernon; he never raced, but he only rode 
around proudly. One day he took a spin and never came back. 

George Hood lived on Water Street with his wife Mildred (Millie). 
George rode around and to work on a Raleigh bicycle; the bike had a 
high seat because George was long legged and very tall. He dressed like a 
railroad man. One day he pedaled down Vernon and off into the sunset. 
He never returned. Millie continued to w^alk down Vernon to catch the 
bus, talking to herself. 

George Hill rented "Camp Quick" one summer. George was a handyman 
of sorts and was alw^ays busy at odd jobs. He liked to cook, especially 
spaghetti. The camp became a hangout for the locals where we could get 
a free meal at any time of the day. On rainy days we hung out and 
played cards all day long and ate the spaghetti. Summer ended, and 
CJeorge was gone. Camp Quick was a typical summer camp in the lake 
area. See the picture of the bungalow "Ewe and Eye" and a gang 
hanging out for the summer - that is what a summer at the lake was all 
about. Later, Paul Coyne built a new cape on the site of the "Old Camp 
Quick. 




The Ewe and Eye Bungalow 



44 



The Ragman 

Anyone that lived around the lake in years gone by certainly 
remembers Mr. Leiter and his horse and buggy. He traveled every road, 
and he knew every house and all the people inside. He lived on Salem 
Street directly through the woods at the end of Marjorie Road (named 
after Marjorie Carter, Lloyd Road was after Lloyd Carter - they lived at 
2 Main). My house was his first stop when he left the woods. We 
haggled! Just before he hit our street he would yell out "lags - lags" 
(rags). I never had any old rags; for that matter, no one had rags; they 
were alw^ays recycled. No one had new^spapers (see paper drive) because 
they they were also recycled (for example when the kitchen floor had 
just washed the new^spapers were put down). I did have lead, iron, 
copper, and sometimes an old aluminum pot. Mr. Leiter would stop at 
the end of the driveway, get down from the wagon, set out the iron 
circular weight on the long leather strap, and then ask what did I have. 
"How much for copper? Four cents was his usual reply - I say Six". We 
settle at five or the going price. ( Coins pulled from his cotton change 
bag.) The action was the same for whatever I had to sell. He got what I 
had, and I got a few cents. If by any chance I was not home, he would stop 
- same routine - and then go to my pile, weigh it with his long brass 
scale, take some change out of his cotton bag, and leave it on the spot 
where the junk w^as - deal made. He w^ould always tie the cotton bag up 
with his long string tightly wrapped around it and then put it into his 
long pockets in his baggy pants. Later on, just at the end of twilight, he 
would return down Vernon Street, w^agon loaded. Kids w^ould be yelling 
and hitching rides on the wagon while dragging their sneakers on the 
street. Down to Main and off through the woods to his cavernous barn 
he would go. Everyone remembers Mr. Leiter (son Max taught at 
Tewksbury High). 

Church Paper Drive 

The Archdiocese of Boston had a yearly paper drive and everyone saved 
their papers for the drive. Saint Marys saved the most. Saint Williams 
was the collector and the paper was carried to a warehouse in Lowell. 
We, the kids of Saint Marys, were the workers and Jimmy Morris, 
helped by John Kane, drove the Noviate truck (I wonder now if he was 
old enough to have a license). The truck was open with stake sides and a 
red cab. We hit every house and street in Tewksbury and filled the 
truck up. We did the whole town. One year we even did the area around 
Shedd Park in Lowell, just to fill up the truck. 



45 



Mrs. Pulsifer 

She was the original hippie and dressed the part long before it was 
fashionable to do so. She lived on Oak Street, two houses down from 
South Street. She spoke quietly and bothered no one, and she took 
care of her cats; the more cats the merrier she was, but even the cats 
were friendly. Mrs. Pulsifer made a weekly trek to Clark's to get a 
cartload of evaporated milk, probably Bordens. The cart was wooden 
with sturdy wheels, and she filled it home with the cans of milk - a 
week's supply for her cats and then dragged the cart home. 

Other passing names: the Milgrooms, Callahans, Oswald Rufus Scott 
Isbister (Ozzie), P. McD left and joined the CCC, the Dawley sisters, 
the uppity Conways, the Campbells, the Varones, the Hurleys, 
Gilberts, and of course Bert Reid, all duked up. Bill Hamilton - the air 
raid warden, G.G. Sacco, the MacManuses, Mazie Frazer O'Donnell 
D'Amore (Al), Matt Stevenson, and Mr. Wells. Do any newcomers 
know where the "new" overpass is? (Napoleon knows!) Tippy Burgess 
said the old overpass was for the Eastern Mass. Street Railway. Ethel 
Phillips, Walter Ackles, George O'Connell. Young and Benner - Real 
Estate Agents, slightly ahead of their time. Dot Carter waitressed at 
Rocco's (sons Ray - "Honey" and Mickey). For a couple of years, all 
the kids would walk to Rocco's on Sunday afternoons for a pizza. A 
pizza cost 35 cents at that time - wow^! I am sure that Dot took care of 
us. Ray Carter (father) once tied an old loaded flintlock to a tree, 
hooked a string to the trigger, pulled it and nearly blew the tree down 
- we all watched from two houses away. Fluffy Jordan. Leo and Moose 
Bonugli. MacClarenville and Brown Street in the summertime - all 
city summer people. All the Ryans lived just of Brown near Sim Purdy. 
Helen Casey and my mother sitting beside the hydrant on Main Street 
at Casey's house watching all the summer goings-on and the people 
passing by. Chet and Nelson Dickey. Mr. Clark's sawmill. Handy man 
Mr. MacLeod's camp in the woods. Mr. Riggs's cart. See the football 
game memories. Al, Larry, and Jackie Cataldo, and Uncle Jim. Pete 
Morris. Jack McCormack and Edie - Janet, Jack, and Jerry came later. 
Coughlin's, MuUin's, Daly's and Leahy's store. On hot summers 
nights Bay State Road filled up with kids from Wilmington, 
Tewksbury and all of the summer locals in the lake neighborhood. 
The regular Tewksbury kids came down but did not fit. 

Mud Pond 

What a place to skate on. When it was frozen over, the nightly bonfire 
was lit and burned until the ice was gone. It was down the hill at the 
end of School Street in a small clearing hemmed in by some 
monstrous pines. Too many stories for this place. Anyone who ever 
was there remembers - it's probably the same today. 



46 




The Shawsheen cabins are much the same as they were 60 years ago, 
but probably a little bit more warmer. Imagine all of the activity that 
went on behind closed doors in the swinging summers so many years 

past. 




Mud Pond as it is today looking from South Street at the end of 

School Street. The path down to the pond is still there ,but the grove 

of tall pine trees are all cut down, and the bonfires all out. 



47 



Silver Lake frozen and covered with snow. 




Some thoughts about the lake on cold wintry days and nights. 

Number one: the summer people never shoveled of the lake or Mud 
Pond, and they never had the fun of standing around a blazing 
bonfire raging at the side of the icehouse behind Tom McQuaids. 
Other thoughts, the safety cracks rumbling across the lake on hard 
cold days. The very first freeze when you could see the perch 
swinuning along the water's bottom. One year about the mid-fifties I 
was down the lake looking for a hockey game and off in the distance I 
saw a white haired gentleman gliding along as if the "Skaters Waltz" 
was being played. He was the best skater on the lake and he looked 
very familiar. I caught up to him, it was Uncle Walter. 
Herbie McCarthy told me that one day he and Earl Booth went down 
to the lake with a new sled to try it out. They both fell in. Went home 
to dry off; Millie's first words to the shivering twosome was, "Where 
is the sled." Everyone has a ft*ozen lake memory. 




The lake ft'ozen over as seen from Skylark. 

48 



The Woolavers 

Selma Woolaver made my mothers coming to Wilmington very easy 
and she was so warm and friendly. They made crabapple jelly and 
preserved blueberries for pies in the long winter. We picked the 
blueberries in the woods at the end of Marjorie Road; the crabapple 
trees were in Selma's backyard. Stan let me hang around his garage, 
as long as I did not get in his w^ay or be a pest; I watched intently as he 
did brake jobs (then tested those brakes on Vernon Street - a speed 
and a screech). Later, when Stan had the garage on Vernon Street he 
let me have all the junk that was thrown out, my stock for Mr. Leiter. 
One day so long ago, How^ard was off in the woods with his shotgun. 
He had a target rock set against a tall oak tree, and he let Bill Fabiano 
and I take a shot at the stone. What a blast. I saved the red 12-gauge 
cartridge shell for a long time. 

Mr Noll 

He was the choir master, but I w^as never in the choir. The Nolls came 
from Germany after World War I and w^ere sponsored by his aunt, 
Mrs. Schmidt. I think Willie and Al were born in Germany, and Bob 
and Leo here. Prior to coming to Tewksbury the Nolls lived in Jamica 
Plain. Mr. Noll and I were friends of a sort. More than once I would 
w^alk home after the Saturday movie with him; he was a baker for 
Filenes in Boston and never had a car. We walked the tracks up to the 
lake, and I helped him pick up coal that had fallen from the steam 
locomotive. He filled a black, oilskin bag on each trip. I imagine that 
he always walked home picking coal on the way. 

My mother told me that during the early part of the war that some 
men came to visit her claiming to be F.B.I. They questioned her about 
the "Germans" in the neighborhood. She said that she had told the 
men that they were all good families. She then told me that at one 
time in the middle forties, she was called to the court in East Boston 
to explain why she should not be deported because she had entered 
the country illegally. When she first came to America, it was through 
New York as Ellen Horgan. She married Fred (my father) in New York 
(see picture) and then went to live in New Waterford N.S. He went to 
work in the coalmines where he was the underground mine manager. 
The miners w^ent on strike and he w^ent with them (he was 
management, but he knew why the miners were striking). There was 
no longer a future in the mines for him so they picked up and moved 
to Meridian Street in East Boston. In a house with the Hurleys. They 
then entered the country via Bangor, Maine; she was now Nellie 
O'Reilly and made an illegal second entry. The judge in the court 
asked her why she should be allowed to stay in America. She replied 
that she w^anted to be home when her son Freddie returned from the 

49 



navy when the war was over. He was just in the invasion of Iwo Jima. 
The judge allowed her to stay but told her to get her citizenship, which 
she did. See the story, "The Day the War Ended". 

Games Played 

The games played in the neighborhood were learned from the older 
kids and passed along. Relievo was played in Mile's field with the 
front of the garage as home. On night we played on Lake Street at the 
corner of Bay State, Earl Booth hid at the top of the lamp pole and was 
never found - night came and we all went home. Earl climbed down as 
we were walking away. Bore-a-hole (Bore a hole, bore a hole right 
through the sugar bowl and sign it with a dot) was played in Keough's 
driveway with the large pine as home. "Cat in the corner" was played 
at the corner of Florence Avenue and Vernon Street. A rock on one 
corner, a lamp pole on the other, tw^o comers w^here fences met. We 
played hide and seek - anywhere; duck in the rock - anywhere, tin can 
relievo - anywhere. Baseball, rollies at the bat, and scrub played at 
Rainey's field, Bensons, Shawsheen School, at the Row of Pines 
(through the woods at the end of Oak Street), Thompson's Grove, over 
on Grove Avenue, and on occasion at the Wilmington Town Park, only 
a short walk down the tracks. "Rubbers" was our local game played 
only in the sanctuary of the Vernon Street local and it was passed 
down to the next generation (See, "The Day the War Ended.) rubbers 
is like the solid bike tire, they don't make them anymore. Tin can 
horses - step on milk cans so that they stuck to your heel. Once this 
was done everyone clippitdy-clopped aw^ay. Tire rolling - Can you see 
a bunch of kids rolling auto tires (the tires bigger than the pushers) 
down the hill on Florence and letting the tires roll free across Vernon 
and into Campbell's cottage? Once the war started, there were no 
more tires. For more fun we also had elastic guns fights - a board, a 
nail and a split clothes pin all held together with some rubber bands 
cut from an old tire tube made the gun. Red tubes were the best. 
Double-knotters hurt the most. White tires - no slappies. Out-of-state 
- no whacks, you flinched! Do you want a noogie? Hits or cracks? 
Truth or consequences. Sonny Carroll ("Squid" My mother forbade 
me to call him Squid; everyone else did, but not me) taught me how to 
hit an outside curveball and the proper way to kick a football. "Squid" 
spent many nights with me alone in the field working at kicking a high 
spiral and making solid place kicks. One year, 1946, Saint Williams 
entered two baseball teams in the Lowell CYO (Catholic Youth 
Organization), Intermediate and Juniors. The Juniors did not have 
enough players to field a team so Father Harrington asked the kids 
from Saint Mary's to play - we all did: Chuck Keough, Frank Kehoe, 
Mike Connolly, Fenton Phalen, Herbie McCarthy, Jim Mackey and 
Bummy Sands (the purest hitter around). We were helped out by the 
other end of Tewksbury players; Charlie Broe, Paul Johnson, and Joe 

50 



: * 



Alfano. Norman Desmaris was the team coach, and he did a great job 
considering the short time to put together the team - he had patience 
and dedication. Charlie Hazel would help out when we either 
practiced or played at the State Hospital field. A few years later as a 
sophomore, I was the starting shortstop for Wilmington. We played at 
Tewksbury. We batted first, and when Tewksbury came to bat, Charlie 
stopped the game and walked out to me and asked why I was not 
playing for Tewksbury. I told him that I always lived in Wilmington. 
He told me that he had already penciled me in. I never played 
basketball. The hoop was on Florence Avenue on a pole in front of Jim 
and Evelyn Farrell's house. During a game, I was called for double- 
dribble, I did not know what that meant and never played again. "One 
potato-tw^o potato-three potato-four, five potato- six potato-seven 
potato, more." "Can I take two giants steps forward? No you may not, 
you forgot to say "May I" Take four baby steps backwards, "May I? 
Best place to play "May I" was in the pines in front of Gilbert's camp. 

Summer Porches 

See Louie Connolly's description of his. When the screen doors began 
to bang at the start of summer it also meant sleeping out on the 
screened -in porch. The Hurley's camp was almost surrounded by the 
porch, with half of it screened. The Gilberts had a front porch, so did 
the Varones and Bessie and Dick. The all-year-rounders had sun 
rooms, or the porch winterized (most were bedrooms at night and 
cleaned up for the day). When I built our home, I built on two 
porches, one for summer sitting and listening. Sleeping out was a joy 
of summer on someone's screened-in porch. The Hughes' porch and 
camp housed ii children and mom and pop. The Hughes' were 
summer people fi*om Somerville. I first met "Archie" when he came 
riding down Vernon Street on a bicycle that had red ballon tires and 
shiny aluminum fenders. The bike was exactly the same as Dave 
Miles, and I thought that Archie had stolen it (I did not know him at 
that time). Recently I talked to George Hughes about the bike and he 
said it was his and that his father had paid $5 for it. George also stated 
that on weekends that the whole family would visit. Forty grownups 
and kids in a 4-room camp built on cedar posts. 

Wilmington Theater 

Every Saturday, every kid in the neighborhood w^ent to the movies; 
the grown-ups went on Wednesday and Thursday nights for the 
dishes or the Joan Blondell makeup. For the Saturday trip it was in 
Jim Farrell's 1937 Ford that made the movie run and if you got to 
Farrell's on time, you could squeeze in for the trip. Remember the 
rage of squeezing into a Volkswagen, Jim Farrell did it first. See the 
picture of a 1937 Ford that belonged to Paul Horgan parked right on 
the town line in O'Reilly's driveway. Eddie and Butch (Joe) Casey are 
on the fenders. 



51 




1937 Ford that belonged to Paul Horgan with Eddie and Butch Casey on 
the fenders. Same car that Jim Farrell had. 




Walter and Chuckie Casey in the driveway at 2 Main Street 



52 




Rear: Eddie, Arthur, Bob, Al, John (Jazz), and Jim 
Middle: Mary, Hazel, Lil, and Winifred 
Front: Sarah, Jim, and George 



The Hughes family of Somerville summered in a four-room camp 
with a front porch on Willow Street. Jim Hughes built the camp in 
1927 in a few months so that it would be ready for that summer. The 
camp had indoor plumbing. Of course the whole family did not all 
spend the summer in the camp, but according to George, that on 
some weekends 40 or more of the extended family would sleep over. 



53 




A trip to Salem Willows - Elsa Shanley, Lil Houlihan, Annie Colbert, 
Alice Mackey, Marion Bowden, Alice Keough, and Nellie O'Reilly 




A Gathering; Front, Eddie Casey, ?, Jeanne Paraskeva, Joan 
Paraskeva,?, Ginny Casey. Rear: Eddie Morris, Butch Casey, Pat O'Reilly, 
Freddie O'Reilly, Isabelle (Brothers) Forrest, Liela Timmons ?, Lorraine 
Forrest, Margaret Forrest and Nellie O'Reilly 



54 




Bay State Road and the store known as Coughlin's (Forbes in the photo). 




Corner of Bay State Road and Willow street today. 



55 




On the beach just after the WWII, Freddie O'Reilly, Eddie Forrest, and 
Kenny Stanley only ones identified. 







Freddie and Sonny, First Communion 



56 




Summer kids on Clyde Avenue - Mary Hurley, Tom Hurley, Freddie 
O'Reilly, and Peggy Hurley. Eddie (Junior ) standing. 




'^^•l-,^^ 



Kids on Clyde Avenue, two generations later. Butch Morris, Butch Casey, 
Eddie Morris, Eddie Casey, and Bobbie Burris (Bill). 

57 



Ballgame Memories 




At the game: Carol Casey, Dick Barry, Nellie, and Beatrice (Sullivan) 
Barry 



A FEW YEARS AGO 



• • • 



WILMINGTON - TEWKSBURY - REMEMBER* • § DONNIE SHEEHAN BROKE HIS LEG • BILL CHISHOLM 
CARRIED THE BALL ONLY SIX TIMES AND SCORED EACH TIME • ELUSIVE OWEN LAWLOR t BOBBY 
60SS A 4-YEAR WHS STARTER AT RIGHT HALFBACK GOLDIE GOLEN AN 8TH GRADE STARTER AT 
GUARD THE DONUT IN THE HELMET PICKOWITZ'S PUNTS SHIFTY BRIAN TOY SNEAKING IN THE 
GAME AT THE TOWN PARK. OVER THE TRACKS - AT THS,THE BASEBALL GATE WAS ALWAYS OPEN 
RED WEISS, DON BERUBE, JACK RYAN, NOBBY PESTANA, LOUIE BRAZEE ALWAYS IN MOTION JOE 
WOODS ON THE FIELD WHEN THE PRO REF MADE A BAD CALL JACK BOWEN CUTTING TO THE INSIDE 
JIGGER ALLEN'S POWER DICK O'NEILL'S SPEED LADDIE HARRIMANS LEFT-FOOTED KICK OFFS 
GUS BLAISDELL HURDLING THE LINE DICK SHERLOCK TOUGH IN THE LINE FRITZIE RYAN HELD 
HIGH BUTCH CASEY CATCHING A PASS CHARLIE PITMAN, LONG AND LEAN ARMANDO THROWING 
THE EXTRA POINT OUT OF THE BALL PARK BILLY JOHNSTON PLAYING TEWKSBURY ONE YEAR - 
WILMINGTON THE NEXT VINNIE COYNE AND DAN MATTHEWS TOUGH RUNNERS SCRATCH O'REILLY'S 
BOOMING KICKS PEE WEE SURREHE PLAYING TOUGH WILBUR THOMAS FROM THE BAND TO GUARD 
CENTERS PATSY SANDS, JOHN TOLAN, JOHN MCPHERSON - EMMETT MILLET GENE HOVEY - SMOOTH 
ALL THE KEOUGHS - SARD, DftN, BILL, KEHOES - DAN, FRANK MIKE ELI A OVER THE BALL (SCORED 
A TD BUSTER SPEAR BLOCKING PAUL CARPENTER, WILMINGTON'S PREMIER GUARD KEVIN FIELDS 
FINGER TIP CATCHES JOE VEZINO - HERE THIS YEAR, GONE THE NEXT ROSS COOMBS STRONG 
AND SILENT VERSATILE BILL HALL THE ARM OF BILLY WALLS AN ALDRICH AT QB BERNIE 
"SQUID" CARROLL - TEWKSBURY 'S SLICKEST BACK EVER ARTHUR FOSS A SOPH QB THE GLUE- 
FINGERS OF JERE MELZAR WALTER MORRIS GONE TO WAR - AS DID MANY OTHERS COACH HAZEL IN 
FOOTBALL PANTS HUGE TEX JOHNSTON BERR BALDWIN AND CY SURRETTE-FBs THE POWER OF DICK 
DEWING AND JOHN KANE JERRY TRULL AND PAUL ROOD IN THE LINE JOE, BOBBY, LEO, BILLY, 
EDDIE WOODS JIMMY DECAROLIS - WILD IN THE--LINE "WOJUII" LENNIE HAINES WORKING HARO- 
JERRY HAINES ALMOST AS HARD FRED ON THE FIELD (HE TURNED THE SERIES AROUND) BILLY 
ROONY AT FB JEFF ROONEY ALWAYS IN THE GAME JIMMY GILLIS ALWAYS MAKING THE TACKLE ON 
KICKOFFS CLEVER DICK ALLARD CONNIE BARRY'S ARM RALPH LEPORE ON THE FIELD- PLAYING 
EDDIE GELINAS - PURE TOUGHNESS SLITHERY EARL BOOTH TOMMY ASPELL IN THE LINE GERRY 
MCCORMACK POWER AT FB ALL OF THE GILLIS PLAYERS CHARLSIE SULLIVAN ONTHE END-AROUND 
BILL FABIANIO ALMOST GOT IN THE GAME LEO, DON, AND DAN O'CONNELL RUNNING BACKS 
BUMMY STREM GUNNER GARLAND A NOVICE AT FB BOB SMITH - DOUG FISHER - BOB WILLIAMS 
SOLID LINEMAN JOE KELLEY'S WATER BUCKET AT THE WHS ALUMNI GAME WHEN THS LOOKED LIKE 
PENN MUSCLES DAN WANDELL AND AND REMEMBER'.'.; WHO AND WHAT ELSE DO YOU REMEMBER? 

58 



LOUIE BRAZEE 

Seven of Louie and Elizabeth Brazee's children are in the picture; 
Wendell came later. Louie was one of Mrs. Miller's boys. Louie was 
always around the lake, from his youngest days and on. He was also 
one of Jake Riley's best friends and worked for Jake to pick up some 
extra cash; he was the late night closer. 




Betty, George, David, Barbara, Paul, Billy, and Louie. 

Once, so many years ago, Ray and Jimmy Lawler were cleaning out 
their garage on Lake Street and every Idd in the neighborhood was 
there helping out. All of the junk in the garage was being thrown out 
(collectibles now); Jinuny came out with the shiniest black baseball 
bat that anyone had ever seen and it was embossed with a gold label. 
Every kid wanted it. Jinuny, in his wisdom, gave the bat to David 
Brazee. David was now ensured of being on Benson's field when the 
game began; he owned the bat. 



58A 



THE DAY THE WAR ENDED 

The day World War II started, I was home in the front room with my 
Mother and Father, Fred and Nellie. My 14-year old brother, Freddie, 
was out, and we were listening to the radio. I was also reading the 
funnies. I am not sure what was on the radio, probably the Ave Maria 
Hour, Father Coughlin, or Melody Ranch, but the radio was interrupted 
with the standard blurb, I guess, "We interrupt this broadcast to bring 
you the latest new^s - The Japanese have bombed Pearl Harbor in a sneak 
attack." I had no idea who the Japanese really were or even what a Pearl 
Harbor was - we would all know pretty fast! 

My Mother and Father were worried and somber. They both knew of the 
horrors of war — they were both veterans of " the War to end all Wars." 
She a nurse with the British Army in France caring for the wounded, 
shell-shocked and maimed. Her two brothers made the "supreme 
sacrifice." He was with the Canadian Army and was wounded in a battle 
for the Somme. He had a younger teen-aged brother, Neil, who had his 
head blown off on August 18, 1917 and was buried somewhere in France. 

Then my brother came home and had all the information. He knew^ the 
whole story. A short time later a knock came on the front door - the 
Lowell Sun delivery man. Freddie had the local route for the 
neighborhood. The man said that the papers should be delivered to the 
customers quickly. The papers in the stack were double the usual 
number, about 50 copies. The papers were tightly bound with the route 
number marked on the top on a blank piece of newsprint in crayon - 618, 
I think. 

Freddie took half of the stack and went right out. Asl looked at the 
remaining pile, my mind conjured up the Illustrated Press and Big Town. 
I got dressed and took the papers out to the corner of Main Street and 
Vernon Street. Stan Woolaver's garage was on my left, Porterfield's Store 
on the right and Rainey's store across the street. A street light was in 
front of Rainey's and lit the corner. I set about to sell the papers: crjang 
out to the few passing cars, "Extra - Extra, Japs bomb Pearl Harbor." 
The traffic of that day was not like today; not many cars went by.) But, 
all the drivers stopped, and I soon w^as almost out of papers; the paper 
cost three cents, but everyone gave me a nickel. My worried Mother 
showed up. She had no idea where I was but had heard me yelling 
"Extra." She hustled me home with a few papers remaining, and we never 
saved them. 



59 



In 1941 Silver Lake was a tight group of neighborhoods — not 
Wilmington or Tewksbury , but the "Lake." Houses were all built on 5000 
square -foot lots and were only a loaf of bread or a pie plate away -- all 
fences had open gates. The reality of war became a part of everyone's 
regular day in the Lake neighborhoods. The war effort engulfed the entire 
world in which 1 lived, and I soon knew in detail who the "Japs" were 
and that I would "Remember Pearl Harbor and Colin Kelly Too." The very 
first thing that happened was that every big guy and some older sisters 
joined-up. Every older brother was soon gone! We, as the youngest 
generation, would soon have Miles' field to ourselves and participate in 
and have control over the "Rubbers*." As the war continued on everyday 
became a little more tense as an all out war effort began. Food was 
immediately rationed as was gasoline (the A sticker on the windshield) 
and a noticeable item was that the Eastern Mass busses that ran by the 
house were now always full. Everyone began to work around the clock. 
My father and a great many men in the neighbor hood worked on the 
docks in Boston, and as the war continued work for them became 
difficult. The German subs were sinking the merchants ships outside 
Boston harbor as soon as they were away from the coast. Gradually as 
the war became offensive, the docks opened up and there was more 
work. Something I always remember was that during the rationing of 
food, my father always managed to bring some home. He had a large 
woolen coat that hung down to his knees, and my mother stitched on a 
liner that had slits just below the arm pits. Some nights when he came 
home from work, he looked as big as a bear. He would take off the coat 
and my mother would spread newspaper on the floor. The contents of the 
lined coat would be spilled out, sometimes it would be loose tea, 
sometimes sugar, sometimes large slabs of butter, sometimes cartons of 
cigarettes, sometimes tins of tuna or sardines, and the greatest find of all 
was when the coat was filled with tins of pineapple. As I look back now, I 
see that commerce kept going on, even with the war - special goods kept 
coming in, and probably for special people not he working people. I am 
sure that it was all pilfered and that the racketeers were in full swing 
with a black market scheme. Another memory of the food status was 
that we always had bread pudding, rice pudding and tapioca. The 
tapioca was also a loose item that came from the coat. My mother was 
always baking bread: three loaves at a time plus a pan of biscuits. The 
biscuits were eaten right out of the oven with butter slapped all over, one 
loaf was for the table, one loaf was sent to the house that needed it and 
the third loaf was left to go hard (almost immediately, no preservatives) 
for the bread pudding. All of the puddings were filled with raisins - from 
the lining. 



60 



The local Bridge Club was a social group that circled the neighborhood 
once a week to play the game, discuss over-the clothline topics, chew on 
hot biscuits, and suck on sweet candy mints. There was a pretense that 
they never touched a drop, but with evidence in hand, they have no case. 
(Seagrams Seven and Canada Dry ginger ale.) 




Lil Houlihan, Mary Gilligan, Nellie O'Reilly, Alice Keough, Nan 
Hughes, and Alice Mackey 



61 



The war began to become dark. Two older brothers were killed, Walter 
Goss and Chet Gearty. They both lived on Grove Avenue. Sard Keough 
was wounded on Guadal Canal and while on rehabilitation in Australia, 
he met his brother Ed. Sard wrote home that he had met Ed and asked 
his Mother about the woman who lived in the house next to Simpson's 
Hill. This was a clue; the name of the house was "Caledonia" so that 
meant that Ed was on his way to New Caledonia. Lil Houlihan was 
notifled by the President that her son, Paul, was missing in action and 
presumed dead. Two w^eeks later she received a delayed letter from Paul 
that he opened by writing, "Dearest Mother do not grieve for me". All the 
mothers worried, the war was coming closer to home. Later to help the 
war effort, Lil appeared on the radio show "We the People" to read the 
letter for all of America to hear. Walter Morris, whose family lived two 
houses away was taken prisoner by the Germans in Italy. A blue star was 
hung in the window of a home that had someone in the service. A Gold 
Star signiHed death. 

One Sunday morning, probably at an 8:30 mass in Saint Mary's, the 
priest on the altar was about to pray for the dearly departed, and he 
spoke a name of a local soldier killed in action, James Lawler. Every 
person in the church was shocked as Irene and Marie ran from the 
church screaming, they did not know that their brother, Jimmy had been 
killed. I sat two rows behind them, and at that moment I understood 
death. 

I only saw my Mother cry tears and cry tears hard twice in her lifetime, 
once when Mary Gilligan died and the other was when Freddie joined the 
Navy. We were on our way to mass the morning Freddie left for Great 
Lakes. She cried all the way to church. Freddie joined at 17, and at 18 he 
was on the beach at Iwo on the "second wave" and on Okinawa also on 
the second w^ave ashore. I asked him Avhat a second w^ave was when he 
came home: he said that once the Marines had gained a beach head he 
then drove his deuce and a half ashore loaded with ammunition for the 
re supply of the troops. He later met Walter Co5nie of Vernon Street on 
Okinawa after cessation of fire, and they got drunk and crashed and 
overturned Freddie's jeep. Walter broke his arm in several places, 
became DAV. When he came home early, he said Freddie got drunk on 
purpose. Walter did not get drunk on purpose. 

Of note, we, as the generation born in the Depression, w^ent through the 
entire war without male supervision or male leadership -- we had no 
male role models. Our Fathers all worked six days a week and drank on 
Saturdays, but the women of the Silver Lake neighborhoods did it all: 

62 



they ran the Betterments, South Tewksbury and the Silver Lake, saw to 
the wants of the churches and the schools, and kept the households 
together and functioning. They had the bridge clubs and the whist 
parties, the sewing clubs and the Silver Lake Chapter of the Aids to 
Victory - what a social party that was. We ran free, went to any place we 
wanted and did anything that met our minds; we grew up without any 
restrictions whatsoever — we were an in between generation, not lost, 
great, beat, boomer or X. (The war that happened when it became our 
time to go - nobody remembers or knows about, it was called "The 
Forgotten War." ) But I remember the last day of the World War II. 
The War was soon to be over. The B-29s were bombing Japan on a 
regular basis - then came Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Talk in the 
neighborhood w^as that it would be over shortly and they all would be 
coming home. 

Bessie Mackey's porch - The word came over the radio that the War was 
over. Screen doors banged, and everyone was out yelling. All of the 
Mothers ended up on Bessie Mackey's summer porch, an el-shaped 
screened-in job on the summer cottage, part in Wilmington and part in 
Tewksbury. They all began to sing and drink, probably Seagrams and 
Canada Dry pale ginger ale, mixed(kids included). "When the lights go on 
again all over the world - Its a long way to Tipperary, its a long way to 
go - There will be blue birds over the white cliffs of Dover." The party 
continued well into the night. The men stayed home and drank their beer 
in the overstuffed front room chairs while listening to the radio. If the 
Mothers could show up today, they would all claim that they never 
touched a drop - who would they be kidding! The official notice came the 
next day ,and Bessie Mackey's porch was quiet. 
They all came home and kicked us off Miles' rubber field. 



Gerry O'Reilly 
* "Rubbers" — A game played with a broom stick and a piece of a skinny 
bicycle tire. No base running just hitting in a confined area — somewhat 
like half-ball, only better. 



63 




Sgt. Chet Gearty, 885 Bomber Squadron, Italy 



64 




Jimmie Lawler 



66th Year No. 213 



So. Tewksbury 




in France 



Pvt. James Lawler 
Had Been Reported 
Missing in Action 

LOWELLr— Pvt. James Lawler, 
son of Alfred Lawler, Lake street,. 
South Tewksbury, was killed in 
action in France in August, ac- 
cording to a war department tele- 
gram received by his family. 

Definite news of the death was 
received last night, following a 
telegram received a^out 10 days 
ago to the effect that he was miss- 
ing in action. He had been serving 
in the infantry. 

A pro-burial mass will be cele- 
brated Thursday morning at 10 
o'clock at St. Mary's chapel, Ver- 

nnrk a+ftk^t- C«m.*K T"— .1 — l. 

65 



Walter Goss 




66 



A couple of Local Heros 




Is. 
k 

IS 



II 



COMPLETES 50 MISSIONS — 

Lieut. Thomas J. Berube, 23, 
son of Mrs. Mary Berube of 
Tewksbury, is shown in front of 
his AAF P.38 Lightning in Italy 
after returning from his 50th 
combat mission over southern 
Europe recently. The young pi- 
/ot wears the DFC and Air Me- 
dal with eight Oak Leaf clus- 
jters for many aerial feats 
against the enemy. He has shot 
down one enemy plane. 



^ alcl J. 

.veough, L .of Mx'. ! 

and Mrs. Leonard . Ktt^ugh. 6! 
\ Florence avenue, -ksbury, is| 

^hospitalized at tiie l . ^5. naval ! 
^ital in .Seatt'- Wash "^ touivj 
• part in the bu...^o oi G-.^.^iilcanal' 




Pfc. Gerald. J. Keough 



I . 

^ and Bougainville and was twice 

*_wou'iided on Dec. 26 in the invasion | 

"^fcape Gloucester, Pvt. Keough i 

T,raduate of Tewksbury high | 

>X where he played on varsity; 

PiV and football teams befor^j 

his ^'->lcma in 1939. ,>^ 



W 




,Aia*=*«».- 



67 




Sard Keough and Siki Bargardo 





Two "Vets" home on leave. Dick, Ma, Peg, and Pa Mackey 



68 




The war over, Freddie O'Reilly is in Los Angeles and on his way home. 



69 



i 

V 



.fext door the lawtt is green, the 

li flower? are gay 

and unmolested, with ; the boys 

TOe grass did not -b^gtiv to grow 3 
^■•.';-'^ last ^ year;. ;■ ■■' ■■■'-' ;■■"- ■ i 

The lawn had bare ^orn patches,! ^ 
vii ' Boys ^:\^ere^here, , ■ , »^ 

And even in the mjght they would ^ 
' -V --iturn -on^ .■v^^'■■^•- ;•-,■". -^ ' ■ -■".■■->-;:•:;■:.', ^,j( 

The light and j^ay their ganies^ i 

, Now they are gpnie, i 

We used to hear 1;heir voices and 1 

M the^ sound ? 

.Of the J^atl falling on: our own < 

tilled ground. I 

Sometimes they j urn jied the fenc^^ l 

Sometimes pur fiovv^ers X 

^ere trampled, but >)^e prized the ^ 

'■■--^■■suiiny hours^'/-'' ■ ■;■-■,'•-;.■-'• 5 

When boys were; playing and the I 

- air was bi:ight ^ 

With voices ahji the yard was filled ^ 

with lighti ^ :2. t 

Spmetimeis I wish the grass weire a 

not so neat, 
And I cdiild hear agdn: their 11 

happy feet t 

And know: them free irom eare n 

and full of play.' £ 

How dull the -street is with the %. 
^ boys away;! •{ ; 



Found in Nellie's collection 



70 



^barefoot boy with a fishing: pole 
\ Jiasf -ivPTit w}tistiin^^ dowit the 



K^ie^^r ^f» Raffert^'^s 



Bound. 
Slough : 
/ That age-o.a lavorice retreat; 
rt\lli9, doc- "-as <iicippitifir about hifi ii 
^1 het : ; 

f The whole woridi /was m tune, 
^'^or thiF » u his dog and his I 

' I Ou ^^^ summer*^ aftemooiv j;' 

•joutrbt of hundreds of oth^ ! 



^ i '^T 





<<« .i oJd Moore' j^ i 
J? hole just- be- ) 



• -^ 1 » *A i 



;et. 



,- - , ^ , -^i-t,>i W1..WIUV like this i 
Jiey'd' lazily -wJiila atvay. 
"^ft a'^shade on the far horizon ; 
dire approaching day. 

^dth .your hshing I 

...T.'^^^ee while you can, 
ise -unalloyed jovs are only for 
bQjrs— 



ixi»bj5^i^t^tj>^ 



HIS YESTERDAYS 

'My son may never will to me fine gold or 

precious lands, , 

His lot;may be the common lot, hard hits by 

life's demands; 
But I shall ever own his youth, his glorious 

yesterdays, 
A treasure locked within my heart, secure and 

safe, always. 

His lusty cry, his joyous laugh, his struggiing 

baby days, 
His toddling steps, his first brave toothy^^his 

cunning, pretty ways; 
AH these shall ever be my own, as long as nijem- 

ory holds, : M - 

Worth more to me than jewels fine, fere 

precious than bright gold. 









His baby arms clasped 'round my necl^, his ptp- 

; , less need of rn^» ^ 

His bumps, and falls and cruel hurts, all 1pes# 

just had to be. '\ 1"^ 

He had to learn life's lessons , there, the b||;er 
. with the sweet, || 

While i was there to guard arjd help, to ^de 

his tiny feet. 

This is my sdn's rare gift to me, whate'er in 

•life befall, 
Always my own, to have and^ hold, I treaj^re 

each and all. 
His manhood days may be his own, I pray ,^ey 

may be fiaie, , \ M 

But just back ttaere^ his yesterdays, they always 

will be mine. 

(Thank you, Bertha, for letting us s|«ar*i 
your beautiful poem. P. P.) 



71 




n Official Gov't or Red Cross business. 

□ Scfiool official traveling school to 
• ^ school. 

Q Transportation 4 or more to school. 

U Transportation of United States mall. 

U ^yhoiesale newspaper delivery. 

LJ Carrying newsreel photographic 
equipment. 

Q Physician, surgeon, veterinarian. 

^.Public Health nurse or interne.'. 

[[] Embalmer. 

[7] Minister, priest, oc rabbi. 

(~1 Transportation of farm workers, ma- 
rine workers, or farm materials. 

Q Essential hospital, utility, or war 
worker. 

(n Labor conciliation, recruiting, train- 
ing workers. 

D Construction, repair, maintenance 
services or production specialist. 

C Members of Armed force to duty. 

Lj Telegram delivery. 

Q Essential scrap agent* 



To Save Tires 
Drive Under 35 

V shore your car 

v" Check air pressure weekly 
v Stop, start, turn slowly 

V Cross-switch tires regularly 

Is This Trip 
Reaii y Necessary? 




During WWII gas was rationed 
and if you had a car you needed 
a sticker. 



Twn nn«MK imrr at MtFuTM •■ TMi timicii «n,T i* 
ruf kMCATiMi >MicM c«aj«tas BiTii Tilt (TAia t-ur 



72 




Fred met Nell 



Great Britain entered the war in August 1914. Frederick M.O'Reilly 
joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force on the 22"** of November 1914. 
He assigned to the 25* Nova Scotia Battalion. On his enlistment form he 
listed his place of birth as being in Cavan, Ireland on 26* of May in the 
year 1890. He arrived in England on May 29, 1915. 

Ellen Margaret Horgan enlisted in the Voluntary Aid Detachment No. 4 
Cavan Ireland (VAD) on February i**, 1918. After training Elinor shipped 
out to Le Harve, France and remained in the service until March 3"*, 
1920. 

Shortly after the Armistice was declared on November 11, 1918, Fred 
took leave to visit his recorded place of birth, Cavan. He traveled to 
Ireland in new civilian clothes and as a well-to-do Canadian visitor. He 
went to the train station in Dublin, probably the Midland Station, to 
catch a train to Belturbet, Co. Cavan. According to his description of that 
particular day, when the train arrived it was boarded by a great many 
travelers; he being a gentleman did not push ahead to board. Instead he 
waited until all had entered the train, which was now full. As he 
attempted to enter the train a brash young woman pushed him aside 
and jumped onto the train and closed the door behind her. She thmnbed 
her nose at the gentleman as the train edged out of the station. He 
caught the next train to Belturbet. 





Nell some where in 
France. 



Fred in Bramshot, 
England after 
recovering from his 
wounds at Somme. 



73 



Fred arrived in Belturbet a few hours later and walked to the town 
center. See the postcard pictures of the main street of that time. He went 
to the Erne Inn and asked for the best room available. While he was at 
the Inn sign-in desk, a young woman in uniform walked through the 
lobby, it the same woman who had brushed him aside at the Midland 
Station. He was taken, and asked the clerk just who she was. He repUed, 
"That is Nell Horgan, she is the fairest." What transpired after that is 
not known. But to this day her relatives in Ireland are still miffed that 
the rich American stole her heart away. His leave over, he went back to 
his Army unit and shipped back to Halifax, Nova Scotia. He was 
discharged and went to work in the coal mines of New Waterford. NeU 
fled Ireland in 1922 after the Black and Tans broke into the Ivy Cottage 
in Belturbet and stole her most precious possessions. She boarded a 
ship and left for New York, USA never to return. 

Fred married NeU at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament in New York 
City on the 3"* of March 1924. Pete Heslin and Peg Griffin witnessed the 
ceremony. They then moved back to New Waterford, Nova Scotia. 




Fred O'Reilly and Nell Horgan on their wedding day. 



74 



The postcards shown below have been our home as long as I can 
remember and I always though that they belonged to Nellie. Only 
recently when I took a careful look at the cards, I realized that they 
were collected at my fathers visit to Belturbet. On the back of one of 
the cards my father had written to his sister, Mary, instructing her to 
save them. He also remarked that Belturbet was an old fashioned 
town. A final note, I have a birth certificate that states that Frederick 
M. O'Reilly was bom in Placentia Newfoundland. 








75 



BELTURBET STATiON 

1885-195S 
fiNR&C&LRailways 

AdnRttioiiieplo 

PASSENGER PLATFORM 



(30 
O 



bL 



BEITURBET STATION 
HAilVyAY VISITOR CENTRE 

ADMIT ONE 

Seif-Catering Accommodation, 
Conlepeoce Facilities 



Belturbet Station Passenge Ticket 





Belturbet Station, Cavan Ireland 2003 

76 



A TRIP ON THE SHAWSHEEN RIVER 

When I remember the days of my youth spent in and around Silver Lake I 
also fondly remember wading in the Shawsheen River. My mind floods 
with a great many thoughts of idle days spent wandering in the river from 
the Aquaduct down to the Old Trestle. I along with Jim and Les Jewer, 
Ray Morris, Frank Kehoe, Jim Mackey, and others would spend endless 
hours searching the river for all the mysteries it held. On any cool 
summer day we would enter the river in the morning and leave it late in 
the afternoon- fingers schrivelled, arms goose-pimpled and body-blue, 
fullfilled. 

One could start at the Acquaduct at the Billerica line on Shawsheen 
Ave., rebuilt now but during my boyhood the toppled stones formed a 
bridge-dam across the river and an ideal place to plunge in for a days 
journey. The old canal pool was off limits to swimmers but one could 
always slip in for a quick dunk. Following the river downstream through 
the wooded overhangs was usually uneventful as the banks were solid 
and the river was shallow until you reached the "Train Bridge". Here was 
one of the deepest and best swimming holes along the river. A home- 
made diving board made swans and jack-knives possible. A run down the 
high bank ended in a "Tarzan cry" and a mighty dive out into the river 
clearing the shallow corner. Leaving the train bridge and going down 
stream you came to what we called "Indian Rock", a large two-pieced 
stone on the right bank as the river turned. The stone was a great place 
to relax upon and to fish from. It also formed a mysterious cavern 
beneath which probably housed a monster of some sort, we never went 
in. From Indian rock we would usually cut through the woods to "Atkins 
Grove" and the diving tree that grew on the bank beside the swimming 
hole. From the tree one could a "one-branch, a two-branch, or from the 
top— all dangerous. From Atkins the river went under Brown St. near 
the intersection of Nichols. When the river was low it was not worth the 
effort to go under, but if the river was high it was pure excitement to go 
through the tunnel. From the bridge the river swung out behind the Ivas' 
farm and emptied into the Jewish Bathtub, a small pond like turn in the 
river. The name was the term used by the Jewish families that lived on 
Heath St. summering there and up from Chelsea and Maiden for the most 
part. From the bathtub the river turned into the woods where a summer 
cottage was built on the firm bank. Next came the house on the river 
and then out to the wide marsh behind Brown St. After a while you 
came to the "Old Oak", a secluded spot on the river where a large tree 
filled a turn in the river. Here was a haven for "ball-a-kee" swimmers - 
bothered by no one and seen by few - with full moons abounding. From 

77 



The Acquaduct 




The place to enter the Shawsheen River for a trip down stream. Every 
person that ever visited the stone structure wanted to climb up it and 
most did. 



78 



the oak the river meandered down to the dam at "MacClarenville" 
another fabulous swimming hole. From the dam the river again 
meandered out to the bridge at Route 38 near the "Pines" a long gone 
barroom - the site of the present K of C. The river made a turn just at the 
end of the parking lot, that turn was called the "Bend", what a swimming 
hole. Turning again and further down stream you would come upon " 
O'Neills", not the swimming hole but the dock built by Bill for Eddie. We 
would talk baseball -Red Sox and Braves- and Bill would proclaim "keep 
out of the apples, they are all green" but when they were ripe we could 
get all we wanted. From there the river turned out to the open marsh 
coming to a cut thru that created an ox-bow (now all grown over), a 
little bit further was the "Real O'Neill's". After a short stretch the river 
ran along a stand of pines and then ran through a wooded area and then 
out to Bridge St. From there the river ran down to the "Old Trestle" on 
the abandoned Salem to Lowell rail bed and our end-of-the-journey 
swimming hole. 

Of course one could not the journey up or down the river in a single day, 
but on any particular day - a summer day - one could enter the water 
and explore and probe - searching for adventure. 

Life abounded in and along the river (I am sure that it still does) startled 
hen hawks labored flight was always scary. Snakes were always present 
- there heads with beady eyes looked out from the river grass - mostly 
three-foot black ones(we lived in fear that a moccassin would wrap 
around our legs under water). Turtles that we encountered were the 
regular old sun, all sizes, - we sold then to the summer city kids for a 
dime. The high-backed, smelly musk turtles were in every mud flat along 
the river. The treacherous large snappers were also in the mud flats and 
their presence was made in two ways: one was the sight of his bearly 
visible two-holed snout just sticking out in the mud waiting for a frog or 
a chic-a-dee to come by, then its huge head and vile jaws would be seen 
clamping upon the unsuspecting victim. The other way you could tell if a 
snapper was around was by a sharp hissing sound - when you heard it 
you fled - those jaws could clutch you at any moment. Snappers were 
always present. 

Bloodsuckers - we knew^ of three kinds; the orange-bellied brown-back 
about 1/4 inch wide, three inches long and was usually found in the 
sandy areas and visible as it cycled along like a slithering snake, only up 
and down in the water as on a roller coaster. The next one was 
somewhat larger, one inch by eight when in the water but golf ball size 
when picked up; it was browner and deeper orange and found in the 
muddy spots. The third kind were small , black, and about 1/2 inch 
long; these we did not find until our journeys end. They were usually 

79 



between our toes or behind the ankles and could be pulled off quite easily 
- all twenty of them. The attached bloodsuckers reminds me that we 
made the trip bare-foot, clad only in navy-blue wool bathing suits with 
the original flared openings. 

At each swimming hole the area was always Oiled with people, 
swimming, sunning, enjo5dng it all. Cars Hlled the field at the Train 
Bridge -Atkins Grove was shallow in one part and always filled with 
frollicking children - The Bathtub was totally in use all day and every kid 
got a complete scrubdown at the end of the day. At the Bend bikes lined 
the fence while kids and grownups swam all day - the bikes never moved. 
Each hole had its own diving spot - might be a barrel, pile of rocks, or a 
built up 2 by 10 (Bill 0"Neill put a new board up each year for us to use). 
A midnight swim at CNeill's was pure ecstacy, but how many creatures 
eyes peered out from the tall swaying grass. 

One year the season changed too quick - Fall came and we all grew up, 
the worlds greatest turtle catchers were gone. The turtles could rest, 
they would not be going to East Boston or Somerville any more. 



Many years later I took a canoe trip down the river with Anne and Harry 
and Janet(Condrey) Beyer, it had not changed much but the swimmers 
were not there and the Shawsheen was not as clean as I remembered it 
to be. 




The journeys end, at the O'Neill Bridge on Bridge Street (connects South 
Street to Shawsheen Street in Tewksbury). go 




h .'-Z^M^. I ' K i^. 



7^ 



The view down stream from Shawsheen Avenue right on the 
Billerica/wilmington town line. 




Indian Rock, just behind where the Atkin's Grove dance hall was 
located; the corner where Nichols and Brown Streets meet. 

81 



Bill Fabiano 




Billy, like I, roamed the streets of the lake, but we were the Wilmington 
kids. On school mornings we would go the other way w^hen the 
Tewksbury kids waited for the bus. Billy had a girlfriend on every 
street around the lake; Tewksbury girls, Wilmington girls, and the girls 
that came up from the city for the summer. Bill was promoted from PFC 
to Seargent First Class in the battlefield in Korea in 1953. 



82 



SUBMERGED MEMORIES - bv Lerov Ferguson 

You barely notice the front door landing at Gerry "Scratch" 
O'Reilly's house on Wildwood St. - until he explains how he made it. 
Then you look down with respect, suddenly aware that this is no 
ordinary row of bricks. 

The story goes back more than a half century to the spring of 
*42 when America was at war and Scratch was hearing terrible news 
in the kitchen of the O'Reilly home on Main St., at the Tewksbury 
line. "They sank another one," Dad would tell Mom on returning 
home from the Boston waterfront, where he loaded merchant ships 
with war materials bound for England. "Don't breathe a word to 
anyone." 

Although it was no secret on the docks that Nazi submarines 
were sinking our merchant ships in the Atlantic, Mr. O'Reilly and his 
colleagues were ordered by FBI agents to keep quiet about what they 
knew. "They say it'll hurt the public's morale," he explained to Mrs. 
O'Reilly. (Our family knew because my cousin Bill went down with 
one of those ships.) 

The O'Reillys talked freely in the kitchen, thinking that their 
nine-year-old son was too young to understand those dark, wartime 
conversations. They were mistaken: Scratch was all ears, and what he 
heard filled him with terror. 

He imagined Nazi subs lurking under Silver Lake, just a short 
walk from his house. But instead of staying clear, he chose to fight. 
His weapons: bricks. 

The Bricks were left over from a newly-built chimney on the 
Skylark boat house at Fitz Terrace. Scratch passed by them four times 
a day between home and the Silver Lake School. Each time he'd grab 
one, heft it, calculate the position of the hidden sub - and let fiy! 

Splash! Direct hit! Ka-boom! 

Hundreds of these depths charges were hurled into the lake 
until, finally, there were no more left. Satisfied at having done his 
part in the war effort, Scratch turned his heroics completely to 
baseball. The bricks lay unseen and forgotten in the black water. 

Until 22 years later when, married to Anne, he was building a 
house for his growing family. It needed a front landing, but Scratch 
couldn't aftord the materials. They were tough times (the good job as 
scientific writer at Raytheon was still a few year's away), and he was 
getting by on odd laboring jobs around town. 

Then it dawned on him: all those bricks he'd tossed into Silver 
Lake! But how to recover them? Lugging them ashore a few at a time 
would be a tedious and exhausting ordeal. There had to be a simpler, 
more efficient way. 

It came to him one day in 1964 when he arrived at the house of 
a resident who had hired him to dig a cesspool and panel a room. In 

83 



the back yard was just what he needed: a canoe. It was a bit battered 
and neglected, but looked floatable. "I'd take that canoe for payment, 
if it's all right with you," he suggested to the owner. It was, and 
Operation Brick Salvage was soon underway. 

It worked like this. Scratch waded into the lake up to his waist, 
pushing the canoe with him, and felt around with his feet for the 
bricks. He wore sneakers to protect against glass; during those 
search-and-destroy missions he had also broken many floating 
bottles (periscopes!). Since the bricks were widely scattered, it was a 
slow, painstaking job. Every now and then, he'd plunge his hand 
down, yank one out of the muck and drop it into a five-gallon plastic 
bucket. In one evening he'd fill two buckets and fioat the contents 
ashore to his car. 

When the sub area was cleared, he combed the bottom for 
remains of Ten HiUs Ice House, which burned down in 1945, and 
continued working his way practically around the entire lake. It took 
a week of evenings and several Sunday mornings to gather enough 
bricks. Then he shaped them into a neat Uttle front landing for his 
house. 

It's a solid one, too, that has bom a family of eight and shows 
no signs of wear after more than 30 years of service. "I'm proud of 
it," Scratch tells visitors, and well he should be. He couldn't have 
done a better job if he'd paved the way with gold. 

- LeRoy Ferguson 




A NEBCO brick not retrieved from the depth of Silver Lake - it is not a 
depth charge. 

The author lives in Spain and returns to Wilmington each summer for news of people he grew up with. 



84 



DANGER 

The recent blast of hot weather and the tragedies at Silver Lake 
aroused my memories of when I was a young teen. I remember those 
hot summer nights when we, Jim Mackey (Tewksbury) and Paul 
Horgan ( city kid up from Chelsea for the sununer), would walk to the 
lake for an early night swim. Down Fitz Terrace or through Melzar's 
field past Skylark along the old icehouse road and then over to 
Bloodsucker. Once there we would strip down and hide our 
belongings behind the huge pine at the shore edge. Naked, we would 
slip into the water like a brown moccasin and slowly walk out in the 
water. Warm at first touch but gradually getting colder as we reached 
neck level. We would just stand quietly and listen to the sounds of 
summer; a fish swishing after a mosquito, same mosquito buzzing in 
our ears, lover's giggles somewhere along the shore, music from the 
mayor's front porch (Harrington), Miriam's bullfrog croaking, and 
the noisy din from Jack's Lunch. Then we would swim over to the raft 
at the Town Beach -just a quiet crawl; climb up on the raft, exposed to 
the full moon, listening once again to summer sounds. 

We knew that there were dangers lurking beneath the raft and in the 
lake everywhere: The six-foot long black and red bloodsucker with 
the piercing full lips, the slimy black eel ready to chew any interesting 
tid bit (a baby one pictured in the Crier recently), the giant snapper 
with his vile jaws, and certainly the old wart frog was just waiting to 
cover us with his wart-making ooze. We were lucky that it was night 
because the big blue darning needles were not out and we did not 
have the fear of our lips being sewn shut. 

Time to move on. But now we would whoop it up and make our 
Tarzan cries and plunge wildly into the calm night water. Out came 
the flashlights - the beach police were there. Eddy Sullivan would 
pierce the night with a super light beam (State Police issue) and 
would try to spot us. (reorge Cushing on the shore with his light - not 
so bright - would launch the boat and row out to the raft. The night 
swimmers are gone, slivering back to Bloodsucker most quietly. Back 
on the shore we would quickly dress our wet bodies and take a slow 
walk over to Jack's for a 15 cent pint of french fries (clams 50 cents a 
Pint). Once there we would meet up with the rest of the night people - 
all out on a hot summer night. Our wet hair was a recognizable clue 
that we were the night plungers. The night wore on and the friendly 
congregation at Jack's began to drift away, some paired. Rardy 
Byrnes and his Charlestown slickers would look tough and city like, 
but once they became known they were more kids out for summer 
fun at the lake. Sallie and Winnie were Charlestown girls. 



85 



A few years earlier when the Town Beach did not exist, the "big guys" 
built a huge wood two-plank diving board that hung out over the hole. 
The concrete dance hall floor was behind and on the raised area that 
was once the old ice house. The bank was about five feet above the 
water and the old ice foundation wall was about 15 feet out in the 
water and three feet deep. The wall ran from the diving board 
parallel to the shore for a distance of roughly 100 feet - a very 
dangerous submerged obstacle. The diving hole was far away ft*om 
the foundation. Archie Hughes (city summer resident up from 
Somerville) and I decided to go over to the diving board and try it. We 
arrived and got in line to climb up. The big guys asked if we could 
swim? What! two alligators being asked if they could swim. "Prove 
it", they said. We did, we plunged in after walking out to the 
foundation wall and showed our stuff - crawls, backstrokes, butterfly 
and submarines. "OK you can go up." I looked at the ten-foot high 
board and though "wow, that's pretty high." Archie looked at it and 
said, "I wish it was higher" he was fearless. We made our dives the 
rest of the sununer - jack knives, swans and regulars - plunging deep 
into the hole. My high school English teacher, Joe Donovan, told me 
that when he was a kid he dove in to the hole and found an old car 
there, now that is a submerged menace. The diving board did not 
survive after that summer, all the "Big Guys" went off to war. 

When in college I picked up an awesome job with awesome 
responsibility - Lifeguard at the Town Beach. The beach was open for 
12 weeks, 10 in the morning till 8 at night, seven days a week. The 
beach shut down the day after Labor Day. Two lifeguards were on 
duty, (Dan Boylan was the other guard) and on busy days and 
weekends two more guards were put on (Tex Johnston was always 
available and capable) a poUce officer was at the gate. A Town 
identification tag was needed to get in. But everyone was let in - 
Tewksbury people and summer visitors. The beach was fenced in 
along the unused portion of the beach down to the hole. The hole was 
fenced off at he end. Toddlers and waders could use the fenced- in 
area. 

The week days were all the same, families arrived as the gates opened 
- by family I mean an older sister with all her yoimger brothers and 
sisters in tow - no adults. The teens arrived just before noon and 
spent the rest of the day being teens. Around four, the workers began 
to arrive and stayed until closing. At the same time all of the young 
people left to go home for supper. An hour later they were all back 
with parents now in tow. The nightly wash downs began. Beach 
cleared and gate shut at eight. Dan ran regular leam-to-swim classes 
each week on a scheduled basis - no charge. Older non-swimmers 
were also encouraged to learn. The yoiuig teen boys were given the 

86 



same Red Cross life guard instruction as tiie regular life guards (no 
charge) added "eyes" on crowded days. On tiie weekends, tiie 
sunbatiiers arrived at the beach prior to opening and set their 
blankets on the dance hall concrete slab (swept clean by the 
Ufeguards the night before). Then as the gates opened the crowds 
came, mostiy on foot, maybe lo autos as well as bike riders from 
other parts of town. City male visitors were easy to spot; they wore 
starched button shirts, regular swim trunks, black socks and leather 
shoes (cool). The hand tennis games began and lasted till nightfall - 
you had to wait yoiu* turn to play. Art Lynch was the master of the 
hook, back spin, over spin, and the comer shot. He stood in one spot 
while his opponents ran around chasing wisps. The destruction of the 
Dance Hall floor in 1957 put a final end to hand tennis and superb 
sun bathing. As on week days, the crowd thinned just prior to the 
supper hour. Then they all came back for the final wash down. The 
gates closed at 8 on weekends, but the crowds did not leave - stayed to 
listen to the summer night sounds. 

The life guards did not socialize, eyes only for the heads in the water. 
One guard at one end of the beach and the other at the end. The teen 
juniors always ready to help out. Tex patrolled the beach in a row 
boat and watched over the raft. "The Raft" was a WWII surplus life 
raft about 16 feet square and covered with canvas . To be allowed to 
use the raft, one must show that he or she could swim, no dog 
paddle. The test was to swim the length of the beach and back, once 
done then the person could go to the raft. Words cannot describe 
what happened on the raft - talk to someone who remembers when it 
was "sUppery when wet." 



I often visit the beach and wonder if I could slip in again late at night - 
but I only wonder. On another thought, the comer of the lake where 
the hole is, why we all know it as " Danger Beach" 



Gerry O'Reilly 



87 




Danger Beach about 1918. The icehouse wharf as a make shift diving 
area. When the wharf was removed in the early 20s, the pilings and 
stone foundation remained; these were the submerged dangers. 
Grove Ave and Moxie Beach in in the background. 












jj 



Capable Tex Johnston patroUing the Town Beach. The non-swimming 

area is fenced off. 



88 




Greg Hakey and Ray Clifford at the Town Beach in 1950. 
The ever-slippery and crowded raft is in the background. 





871 

ILMINGTON 




2P8 

ILhINGTOK 




Wilmington Town Beach tags. 



89 




The ice house at the spot where the present Wihnington Town Beach 
is today. The part of the ice house that is shown is only the ramp that 
carried the ice blocks into the icehouse. The entire building extended 
out to Grove Avenue. The wharf shown in a previous picture is 
slightly visible as is the "Moxie" sign. 




Gerry O'Reilly, Roy Ferguson, and Paul Horgan - 1954 



90 



SILVER LAKE REVISITED 

In the spring of last year after "Wilmington: A Retrospective " was 
published, I received a call from Dorothy LaFionatis of the Historical 
Commission. She told me that a gentleman who lived on Dudley Road in 
South Tewksbury had some old negatives that seemed to be of Silver 
Lake a long time ago; he w^ondered if the Historical Commission would be 
interested in having them. Dorothy said "Yes!" She immediately called me 
and within the hour I was at the home of Tippy and Maxine Burgess on 
Dudley Road ( if one stood on the end of Dudley, one could throw a rock 
in the lake; its that close). 

I knew both of them; they are Silver Lake oldtimers. As soon as I 
arrived, I was at the kitchen table looking at some old 5 by 7 glass 
negatives stacked unseparated in an old wooden box, rubbing up against 
each other. I removed one to get a closer look; the negative showed two 
buildings in the w^oods, no street only bushes and pines. Painted on the 
face of one of the buildings was a full sign: "Forbes Store". I held the neg 
to the light and peered at the image. Then, I recognized the building as I 
had known it from my youth, Coughlan's Store on Bay State Road in 
South Tewksbury. (Bay State is a side road off of Lake Street.) 

My fingers jumped into the box: Lake Street - a dirt road. Grove Ave. - a 

summer mecca, the ice house on Main Street, the Silver Lake train 

station. The Shawsheen Tea Room, Wilmington Center, a summer 

cottage under the pine trees, plus 40 more images. 

By comparing the negatives to some postcards of the same 

era it is quite obvious that the pictures were taken by the same person or 

company that produced the postcards. The reverse script that is 

scratched on the negatives was done by the same hand as that shown on 

some of the postcards. A Mass. license on one of the autos pictured is 

dated 1918, thus dating the negatives. 

Where did the negatives come from? 

Tippy Burgess has an older brother, Leslie. Les lives in South Royalston, 
Mass. He was in the process of cleaning out his attic when he came 
accross the negatives and was about to toss them out but decided to get 
a closer look . He saw immediately that they were of Silver Lake as he 
remembered it so many years ago ( Les is 81). Les called Tippy to see if 
he would have any use for them. Tippy said "Yes", and as soon as he had 
them in his hands he immediately called the Historical Commission. Les 
had no idea where the negs came from but felt that they might have been 

91 



>*■>■: 



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; s 



' i i. 



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used by another brother, Chet. Chet was a former Wilmington police 
officer and an amateur photographer and may very well have had the 
negatives while processing his photographic work. 

When Tippy gave me the negatives I could not wait until I showed them 
to the Historical Commission for the glimpses of Silver Lake of so many 
summers ago. The Commission approved the processing of the negatives 
and suggested that the Hnished photographs be put in book form and that 
the book be made available to the public. The compiled photographs are 
finished and are in book form and will be for sale in limited quantities: 
the book is titled "Silver Lake Revisited". The era that is presented in the 
processed pictures has been discussed by Capt. Larz Neilson in the Town 
Crier under the following titles: 



"Fifty Years Ago at Silver Lake" July, 1958 

"The Daredevil Balloonist" September, 1962 

"The Ice Industry in Wilmington", May, 1962 

For a copy of the "Silver Lake Revisited" book, contact the Wilmington 
Historical Commission. 

Gerry O'Reilly 



92 



A New Generation 




Patrick Keough, Gerry O'Reilly, and John Keough 
Grandsons of Scratch and Chuck 



93 



Pines and birches and other catch-up. 

Most of the towering pines have been cut down and replaced by 
houses. One summer everyone was hanging around the large pine 
that was in the woods between the Hurley's camp and the Gilbert's 
camp. The big kids were up in the pine and all of the little kids were 
on the ground beneath it. Suddenly a branch broke and down came 
Freddie and landed square on Teddy Gilbert. Ted's leg broken, all 
done for the rest of the sununer. 

Beside our house was a stand of birches. Freddie,''Squid'', and BiU 
and George Farrell were "bending" the trees. They left and I climbed 
up to bend also; got to the top of one to swing it down. I was not heavy 
enough to bend it; fell the eight feet to the hard ground. 

The Mackey's had a front yard full of tall poplars that could not be 
climbed. 

Coasting in the "Pit" and up at Simpson's hill. 




A stack of rubbers looking for someone with a broomstick. 



Gerry O'Reilly-2004 



94 




SILVER LAKE MEMORIES 



^ 



FILL IN THE BLANK PAGES WITH SOME OF THE THOUGHTS 
THAT LURK DEEP IN THE BACK OF YOUR MIND 





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